BEST hasn’t paid its own electricity bill for 3 months, owes Rs 400 crore
A letter sent by the general manager of Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport (BEST), undertaking responsible for providing electricity to major parts of the city, has brought to light the fact that it owes Tata Power Company over Rs 400 crore in unpaid electricity bills.
The BEST is currently facing a financial crisis due to the losses incurred by its transport division. A few months back, the undertaking had started charging power consumers a small surcharge in a bid to cover its losses. While consumers continue to pay the additional amount every month, the BEST has neglected paying its vendors.
According to a TOI report, the undertaking has not paid TPC for the electricity units purchased from them since March this year citing acute financial crisis. The outstanding bill of Rs 122 crore of March, along with the subsequent bills of Rs 127 crore and Rs 151 crore for the months of April and May are also unpaid – bringing the total unpaid amount to over Rs 400 crore.
The unpaid bills came to light after the BEST G.M Jagdish Patil requested the BMC for a grant of Rs 400 crore to settle the dues. Patil has also requested a similar grant of Rs 600 crore in the next quarter.
When contacted, a BEST official confirmed that the undertaking has already accounted for its existing expenses like salaries, overheads, interest from other loans etc. Since the power bills have piled on top of the existing loans, they had no option but to approach the civic body.
Meanwhile, the BEST’s financial condition may worsen if they lose the court case and have to refund the amount citizens paid towards TDLR (transport division loss recovery surcharge).
The BEST official also added that if there is no respite from the loans and losses, it may severely affect the functioning of both transport and electricity divisions of the undertaking.