Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit on Sunday urged people to reduce their electricity consumption if they cannot afford high power bills.
"If any family feels that electricity bill is out of their income (limit) and can't bear it, then use one bulb instead of two. In place of two fans or coolers use one," Dikshit said in New Delhi at a political rally.
The chief minister also said consumers should not expect low power bills if their usage was high.
"If you use electricity for 24 hours, you will not pay the bill only for five hours," she said.
Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal recently accused Dikshit of conniving with private power distribution companies and not allowing a cut in electricity tariff.
He claimed that when a former electricity regulator tried to reduce tariff, power companies "went running" to the Delhi government in 2010 and Dikshit ordered that the power rates should not be lowered.
Reacting to Dikshit's statement, Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal said, "This is very unfortunate statement from the chief minister of Delhi. In Delhi, the electricity prices are not increasing because of increased production cost.
"How can you expect the people to stop using TV, refrigerator, washing machines which have become essential today. The electricity prices are increasing only because of the corruption of the Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in collusion with electricity companies...."
He said that the electricity tariff will come down "by at least half" if corruption is stopped.
The power tariff in the city was hiked by 22 per cent in 2011 and again it was increased by 26 per cent for domestic consumers in July last year.
The tariff was again hiked by up to three per cent from February one.
For the last five years, Delhi government has been providing subsidy of Rs 1 per unit for domestic customers whose monthly power consumption does not exceed 200 units.
The Delhi government had last week offered a bailout package to Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd by infusing fresh equity of Rs 245 crore into the company to help it tide over its financial crisis. The government has 49 per cent share in TPDDL.
Over a year ago, Delhi government had offered a similar bailout package to Reliance Infrastructure-backed discom BSES by infusing fresh equity of Rs 500 crore to the company. Reliance had infused Rs 520 crore and the total amount of Rs 1,020 crore was used for getting a loan of Rs 5,000 crore from IDBI bank.
The DERC had a few days back shot off a letter to the chief minister seeking bailout package for the private power distribution companies.