The AAP government has fast-tracked the power subsidy scheme with the power department submitting a final proposal to the government. As per sources, the proposal may be discussed in the cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
Sources said there is a strong possibility of subsidy being announced soon after the cabinet meeting. Sources said the cabinet may consider two proposals — one to provide the subsidy in this financial year, which will ensure that consumers start getting the benefit from March itself and the other for the next financial year, which starts in April.
“The issue will be discussed by the cabinet and in case any changes are required they will be made. The power department has submitted a proposal on how much it will cost the exchequer based on the number of consumers who are being provided relief,” said a senior Delhi government official.
Sources in the power department said that it will cost approximately `1,500-1,600 crore per year to provide subsidy to those consuming up to 400 units. The power department has held a number of meetings in the past week to decide on the quantum of subsidy. The subsidy that is in place is expected to end by March and unless the new subsidy is implemented power bills will go up drastically.
But implementing its poll promise of reducing power tariff by 50 per cent is going to be a difficult task for AAP as the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) has also started the process of annual power tariff hike that is likely to be announced by June. In March, the power regulator will come up with a notification to start the process of revising the annual power tariff.
Sources in the power firms said even if the tariff is reduced by 50 per cent, the revision by DERC is likely to increase the rates that will ulitmately hit the consumers, inflating their power bills.
Sources further said that power distribution companies had also argued that power generation cost has been going up for the past few years and needs to be controlled if tariff has to be reduced in Delhi. “Every year power cost has been going up by almost 10 per cent. Till that is not controlled tariff will continue to go up,” said a source.