The free electricity scheme for those consuming up to 200 units in Delhi has pushed up the Delhi government’s power subsidy bill by Rs 535 crore, taking it past the Rs 2,200-crore mark.
The Delhi Assembly Monday passed the “cash supplementary grant” to meet expenditure towards the power department’s subsidies to consumers, through private distribution companies BSES and Tata Power. The amount was sanctioned after the department analysed data provided by discoms on consumption patterns over the last two years.
Announcing the scheme on August 1, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said the subsidy bill is not likely to register a substantial increase. Before the bill exemption scheme for the 0-200 unit slab was announced, those consuming 0-200 units were charged Rs 1/unit instead of Rs 3; while consumers falling under the 201-400 category were paying Rs 2.5 instead of Rs 4.5.
Accordingly, the government had set aside Rs 1,720 crore for the scheme. Later, the power department had sought an additional Rs 130 crore as supplementary grant. Now, instead of Rs 130 crore, the government has sanctioned an additional Rs 535 crore to fund the expanded subsidy scheme to cover the months between August 2019 to March 2020.
The total expenditure on power subsidy would now be Rs 2,255 crore for 2019-20. “The total subsidy bill is expected to rise in the next financial year as the exemption scheme was not applicable in April-July this year,” a senior official said.