Adani Group’s entry into Mumbai’s power sector led to monopoly; Telangana might face a similar fate

The Adani Group, which previously secured the contract for electricity bill collection in Mumbai, is now entering Hyderabad. Critics argue that similar conditions seen in Mumbai may soon prevail in Telangana. During a recent media briefing in Delhi, Chief Minister Revanth Reddy revealed that the responsibility for collecting electricity bills in Hyderabad’s Old City has been handed over to the Adani Group. This move is being described as the first step towards the privatization of the power system in Telangana.

Adani Group, operating under Adani Power, established Adani Electricity Mumbai Limited on September 18, 2008. The company launched a pilot project to collect electricity bills for approximately 30,000 people in Mumbai. It has since secured contracts to supply electricity to about 31 lakh people across seven major divisions, including Andheri, Bandra, Mira-Bhayandar, Borivali, Malad, Powai, and Chembur, covering an area of 400 square kilometers. 

These contracts were facilitated through agreements with Maharashtra Eastern Grid Power Transmission Limited (MEGPTCL) and the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) in 2018, with support from the then BJP government. As a result, Adani Group now holds a monopoly over electricity supply in these areas.

Following its establishment of a monopoly in Mumbai, Adani Group has been accused of exploiting consumers by frequently increasing electricity charges. In the past two years, electricity rates have been raised eight times under the guise of fuel adjustment charges, with the most recent hike in May adding Rs. 1.70 per unit. 

Consumers face routine disconnections and service charge recoveries for delayed payments. Additionally, service charges are imposed for power interruptions caused by external factors such as storms or animals. Despite consumer protests and notices issued by MERC, the company has continued its practices unabated. There is also widespread criticism over varying electricity tariffs at different times and the planned installation of smart meters in 10 lakh households to monitor consumption.

Experts in the electricity sector are voicing concerns over the Adani Group’s new role in Hyderabad. They highlight the company’s controversial practices in Mumbai, warning that similar issues could arise in Hyderabad. Critics argue that the Adani Group’s entry into the billing system could lead to increased electricity rates and service charges, ultimately burdening consumers.

Concerns extend to the potential further privatization of Hyderabad’s electricity distribution system. The process could begin with dividing the city into Adani Group franchises, enabling the company to control electricity supply and tariff decisions. This could lead to the imposition of new connection fees and service charges for power supply issues. 

Additionally, smart meters could be used to monitor consumption and impose higher charges during peak hours. Critics fear that Hyderabad residents may face substantial increases in their monthly electricity bills, slower resolution of service disruptions, and additional charges for minor repairs, mirroring the situation in Mumbai.

The growing privatization concerns have led to calls for the government to take back the decision and prevent the potential monopolization of Hyderabad’s electricity sector by the Adani Group.