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Arvind Kejriwal slams Centre for proposed amendments to Electricity Act

In Delhi, power tariffs for consumers who use up to 400 units, comprising 85% of all connections in the city, will have to face a hike of over five times, Arvind Kejriwal said.

delhi Updated: Sep 30, 2018 11:09 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Delhi
Arvind Kejriwal,Electricity Act,Delhi electricity tariff
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addresses a press conference at his residence on the Modi government’s proposed amendment to the Electricity Act 2003 in New Delhi, India, on Saturday, September 29, 2018.(Mohd Zakir/HT Photo)

Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal slammed the Centre on Saturday for the amendments to the Electricity Act, 2003 proposed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government.

Kejriwal said the proposed amendment would increase power tariffs across all states, including Delhi, by at least three times, and take away the right of state governments to decide power tariffs apart from constituting regulatory commissions.

Calling the Electricity Amendment Act, 2018 “draconian”, Kejriwal said the Bill would put an end to cross-subsidy, which at present helps keep electricity tariffs lower for small, medium and agricultural consumers by imposing higher rates on industrial and commercial consumers.

He said he will write to all the chief ministers and personally meet those from the non-BJP ruled states to unite against the “dangerous” amendments, which are “a gross violation of the basic federal structure of the constitution”.

“The Centre plans to table this Bill in the winter session of the Parliament. If it is passed then across all states and all categories such as domestic or commercial – the rate would be one. It means small and medium domestic consumers, who constitute nearly 90% of all consumers, will be worse hit,” he said in a press conference Saturday.

In Delhi, power tariffs for consumers who use up to 400 units, comprising 85% of all connections in the city, will have to face a hike of over five times, he said. In the national capital, the average cost of power is Rs 7.40 per unit.

With the AAP government’s subsidy, Delhi residents get electricity at Re 1 per unit below 200 units and Rs 2.50 per unit below 400 units.

The BJP rejected issues raised by the AAP government and said the proposed amendments would instead reduce power tariffs.

Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said the bill would reduce meter load surcharge, but did not explain how.

Kejriwal challenges Amit Shah for debate

Kejriwal also challenged BJP chief Amit Shah for an “open debate” on the work done by the AAP government in three years in Delhi and that of the BJPruled governments in other states and the Centre.

Responding to Kejriwal’s “challenge”, the BJP said the chied minister should stop raising the issue of debate and start doing work for the people of Delhi.

First Published: Sep 30, 2018 09:26 IST