With an eye on the polls, the state cabinet late on Friday night cleared a proposal to purchase 500 MW of additional power during the three summer months till May.
The state government will provide a subsidy to the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) to purchase additional units of power that will help cut load shedding by an hour for the three months that include the exam season.
The state exchequer will have to bear a burden of nearly Rs 600 crore for this.
The power will be purchased from the market at Rs 8 per unit. The estimated recovery rate works out to Rs 3.50 per unit of power. The government will subsidise the difference of Rs 4.50 per unit to enable MSEDCL to purchase additional power.
Maharashtra is facing a power shortage of 4,500 to 5,000 MW. The shortage increases during the summer months when the demand for domestic power as well as electricity required for agriculture outstrips supply.
Currently, there are power cuts of up to six hours in urban areas and 10 hours in rural areas. The power crisis is likely to be an important poll issue.