The Delhi government on Friday offset a tariff hike announced by the power regulator by giving subsidy to middle-class consumers, a big chunk of voters, which will bring down the bills in an election year.
Residents who consume between 201 and 400 units a month will likely see a fall of at least Rs. 418 per month in their bills. New rates will be effective August 1. The bills of those using between 0 and 200 units will remain unchanged.
Tariffs have been a contentious issue in Delhi, which goes to the polls later this year, with the consumers accusing power companies of overcharging and deficient service. Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party even launched a stir, asking people not to pay “inflated” bills.
On Friday, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) announced a small hike of 0.5% for BSES consumers in south, west, east and central Delhi and a 2% hike for those supplied by Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL) in north.
While DERC increased the tariff from Rs. 5.50 per unit to Rs. 5.80 for 201-400 unit slab, the government announced a subsidy of 80 paise, bringing down the tariff to Rs. 5 per unit. A family which consumes 400 units a month and pays Rs. 2,189 will now pay Rs. 1,771.
In a month, an average middle-class household uses up between 350 and 400 units.
It allows the family to run an AC, washing machine and other electrical items.
Though the tariff has been increased by 5% for all the three power distribution companies, DERC merged the power purchase cost, which consumers pay over and above the existing tariff. For BSES area, the power purchase cost is 4.5% and for the TPDDL, it stands at 3%.
The DERC also introduced a new slab of 401-800 units so that smaller consumers do not get burdened by expensive power as high-end users pay more per unit. Power purchase cost is revised every three months and once the elections are over, it may see a big hike.