BENGALURU: Customers who pay their electricity bills online will no longer have to pay additional convenience charges or merchant discount rates (MDR) which would amount up to 1% of the bill amount. This is provided the customers pay their bills on time and the bill amount is less than Rs 2,000. Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM) had recently sought clearance of the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) to foot these charges to encourage customers to pay online.
Currently, customers using credit cards have to pay 1% of the bill amount and additional GST on the transaction. Those using debit cards pay between 0.25-0.5% for bills up to Rs 2,000. In its recent tariff order, KERC said that BESCOM could now absorb these charges on behalf of the consumers and reflect this amount in the annual revenue requirement.
Customers who pay through Electronic Clearing Service (ECS) mode or payments above Rs 1,000 made in advance of the due date will also get an additional 0.25% discount on their power bills. “The modalities of absorbing the extra fee paid on debit or credit card transactions is being worked out. By the time consumers pay their bills for the next month, the system will be in place,” P Rajendra Cholan, Managing Director of BESCOM, said.
The request to waive transaction fees for online payments has been a long-standing demand of consumers. The move also comes after a directive by the Union Ministry of Power which has written to all distribution companies asking them to incentivise online payments. As per BESCOM estimates, if the company absorbs transaction charges for all online payments irrespective of the bill amount, the costs incurred will be Rs 12.94 crore per month.