CHENNAI: As Tangedco has finally started implementing its 2017 tariff order that mandates all
multi-storeyed buildings across the State to pay for common area facilities as per commercial tariff as opposed to domestic tariff, residents have expressed their strong opposition to this move fearing a steep hike in their monthly maintenance charges.
Residents of multi-tenement residential complexes will be shelling out an extra Rs 50,000-Rs 60,000 as maintenance charges bi-monthly as Tangedco has brought back its old system of charging certain
facilities such as gymnasium, swimming pool and community halls according to commercial tariff. Additionally, sewage treatment plants, reverse osmosis plants and fire safety systems come under this tariff range causing the ire of residents, especially along OMR.
Three components, including lift, light and water pumps that come under the common area will be exempt from this order and will be charged according to domestic tariff, clarified a Tangedco official.
From 2012 to 2014, luxury facilities such as gym, swimming pool, amphitheatre and
community halls were billed by Tangedco under commercial tariff. But, from 2014 to 2017 owing to a change in the system, all common area facilities were billed under domestic tariff. Yet again since 2017, the old system prevalent in 2012 has been brought back.
“Lift, light and water pumps will be given under one service connection for each block in an apartment and charged under the domestic tariff. But things like treatment plants are used by residents and are not exclusive for any one particular block. Hence we charge it under the commercial pricing,” said an official.
Following an RTI filed by a resident of Indira Nagar, TNERC has given strict instructions to implement this order for apartments where Rs 70 is charged for one unit under the commercial tariff, whereas
domestic tariff stands at Rs 20 for one service connection under the domestic tariff.
From September, local officials from each ward have been distributing notices asking residents to pay electricity bills according to the new system. Also, an apartment at Navalur which had not adhered to the norms was pulled up for unauthorised usage and levied a fine.
“The pollution control board and CMDA make it compulsory to have an STP and a fire safety system. Instead of rewarding such flats for this, residents are penalised with such heavy bills. How can the use of such essential facilities be deemed as commercial” asked Prakash K, a resident of an apartment at Navalur
which houses 200 families in five blocks.
The Federation of OMR Residents Associations (FOMRA) which represents over 200 apartment complexes along OMR, has decided to write to Tangedco and State electricity regulatory commission to revoke the order for the benefit of residents.
“The order does not specify any details on treatment plants or fire safety equipment. This shows how
archaic the rules are. Only because the government does not provide water supply or process our waste, we are forced to do it ourselves. But we are penalised with bills amounting to Rs five lakhs for being responsible,” said Harsha Koda, president of FOMRA, who has been paying bills under commercial tariff since 2011. S Sridharan, vice-president of Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (Credai), said their legal team too will be looking into the issue as many developers have expressed their worry.