Soon after delivering on their promise of providing free water to all those who consume only 700 litres per day, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government is eyeing slashing power bills by 50%.
According to sources, a detailed presentation on how to reduce power bills was made before Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is also the power minister.
Kejriwal has asked the power department to finalise it soon. New principal secretary Puneet Kumar Goel took charge on Monday and an announcement on providing subsidy and implementation of other measures to reduce power bills is expected soon.
“If subsidy is provided only to those consuming 200 units per month, which is in force currently, they will have to shell out R450 crore per annum. However, if the scheme is extended to those consuming 400 units, it will put an additional burden of R1300 crore per annum on the government. At the same time, if all the residential consumers are covered, it will cost the government Rs 3000 crore per annum,” said a senior Delhi government official.
The power department has also emphasised that the department should look into efficiency enhancement and take up the matter with the Centre on allocating cheaper power to Delhi.
The power department has also sent a proposal on Time-of-Day (TOD) metering, in which domestic power consumers will be charged according to the power usage during peak and non-peak hours.
“The new system is expected to discourage users from consuming more power during peak hours so that load-shedding is minimized in residential areas. Power distribution companies often have to procure additional power from the market at a very high cost to meet the demand during peak hours. Last year TOD was introduced for commercial consumers. This move can also help in reducing power tariff,” said a senior official.
The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) has already made its stand clear that any decision on power tariff can be taken by the power regulator only, and if the government wants to reduce power bills it can achieve this only by providing subsidy.
Sources further said that the feasible option, which the chief minister might opt for is to provide subsidy to those consuming 400 units, as it covers the maximum number of residents.