The power bills of more than 28 lakh Delhiites will almost double for April, as a subsidy that cushioned customers for a decade from ever-increasing power tariffs is discontinued.
High voltage electricity towers are pictured on the outskirts of New Delhi. A massive power cut blacked out a vast swathe of northern India affecting hundreds of millions of people. AFP Photo/Prakash Singh
Adding to their woes, further tariff hikes also loom large with the city’s power regulator speeding up the process of determining new power rates for the year.
The absence of a subsidy will affect almost 80% of the Capital’s 34.61 lakh power consumers who use between 200 and 400 units of electricity, sources in the power department said. For the middle class, which was paying ` 970 per month approximately for 400 units in the past three months will pay about Rs. 1940 now.
The other 20%, who consume more than 400 units of power, won’t be affected since they weren’t covered by the subsidy.
North Delhi consumers may be the first to feel the pinch in a couple of days with a Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited official saying that the power bills have been already sent out for the month of April.
The subsidy, first offered by the Sheila Dikshit government, was followed by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government that slashed power bills in the Capital by 50%. But due to an absence of budgetary allocation by the 49-day AAP government, the subsidy was discontinued on March 31 this year.
Currently, those consuming up to 200 units of power pay Rs. 3.90 per unit, while those consuming between 201 units and 400 units pay Rs. 5.8 per unit.
“We will start sending out the unsubsidised power bills from next week for April. A few whose billing cycle is between March 20 and April 20 will get their bills in April itself,” a discom official said.
However, the future may hold worse news for consumers as the Delhi Electricity Power Regulator (DERC) is going to issue a public notice this week that will invite suggestions and objections on tariff petitions submitted by the three power discoms for this year, all of whom have asked for an increase in power rates. The process is expected to go on for a month followed by a public hearing. Once this concludes, the new tarif f will be announced which is likely to increase power bills further.