The AAP government has slashed power tariff by half and ordered supply of free water, in prompt fulfilment of two of the party’s key election promises.
Calling it an “important day” in lives of Delhi’s residents, deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia announced on Wednesday that electricity will be available to consumers using 400 units or less at half the charge and 20,000 litres of water per household will be supplied free every month. The new rates will start on March 1.
Starting April 1, the subsidy will cost the state exchequer Rs 1,677 crore per annum.
After a cabinet meeting, Sisodia called upon people to use the electricity “judiciously”, and for good reason as there are riders attached to this bonanza. If power consumption crosses 400 units, a consumer will have to pay for the entire number of units used, starting from 1.
There will be restrictions on free water too. Households using more than 20,000 litres will have to pay for the entire amount consumed.
The cheaper power is expected to cost Rs 1,427 crore, whereas free water will cost the government Rs 250 crore a year, beginning April 1.
For the month of March, the government will incur an expenditure of Rs 70 crore on power alone. Free water will cost Rs 20 crore in March.
Explaining the reduction, an official said that if a person gets a bill for 201 units, they will pay Rs 2 per unit for the first 200 and the full rate of Rs 2.97 for the last unit.
The relief in electricity bills will be provided to domestic consumers till the CAG audit of private power distribution companies (discoms) is completed. This will continue even in the eventuality of any tariff hike by the regulator, Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission. The 50 per cent subsidy is likely to be in place irrespective of a possible hike.
Sisodia said this decision will benefit approximately 36 lakh families or approximately 90 per cent of domestic consumers.
On water, the deputy CM said, “We have given 20,000 litres of water free. Sewer charges would be waived off for these families as well. Last time, when we gave this subsidy, 13,31,000 families benefitted. Now that the number of meter connections has increased, about 18 lakh families will benefit.”
The government is working on providing pipelines in every area, Sisodia said.
Group housing societies in areas such as Dwarka, Rohini or IP Extension will also benefit from the water subsidy.