Delhi’s ‘power’ play: Pay nothing for 800 bill

Updated on Aug 13, 2019 01:40 PM IST

The government will also offer a flat ₹800 discount to those who consume a maximum of 400 units of power, the officials added.

The Delhi government will extend its 100% power subsidy scheme to those domestic consumers who manage to keep their power bills to at most <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>800, senior government officials working on the plan said on Monday.(Sakib Ali /Hindustan Times)
The Delhi government will extend its 100% power subsidy scheme to those domestic consumers who manage to keep their power bills to at most 800, senior government officials working on the plan said on Monday.(Sakib Ali /Hindustan Times)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

The Delhi government will extend its 100% power subsidy scheme to those domestic consumers who manage to keep their power bills to at most 800, senior government officials working on the plan said on Monday.

The government will also offer a flat 800 discount to those who consume a maximum of 400 units of power, the officials added.

Soon after the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC), a quasi-judicial independent body, announced new tariffs effective from August 1, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had offered a power subsidy scheme for domestic consumers who consume a maximum of 200 units of power every month, with the additional caveat of a maximum 5kW sanctioned load. Kejriwal further said that households consuming anything between 201 and 400 units per month will have to pay their electricity bill but approximately 50% of the full bill amount will be subsidised by the government.

The new plan prepared by the power department, however, expands this.

 

Officials, while providing details of the revised scheme, said monthly electricity bills will be effectively nil for even those households which consume up to 208 units as their bill would come to about 800 - the maximum a consumer can avail of the subsidy.

The newly introduced cap has rather turned in favour of mostly those consumers who have a consumption pattern ranging from 201-208 units a month with a sanctioned load between 1-2 kW. Electricity for such consumers too will be free of cost.

“It is a misconception that only those consuming up to 200 units will get a full waiver on their electricity bills. Under the new scheme, even those households who have a consumption of say, 204 units with a low sanctioned load, will have to pay nothing. For the rest who consume up to 400 units, those households will get a subsidy of flat 800 on their bills,” said a senior official in the power department on condition of anonymity.

Besides, the scheme will also benefit consumers whose properties are not occupied. Also, the subsidy has no cap on the sanctioned load of a household, as against the cap of 5kW that was announced earlier.

“There are many farmhouses and bungalows that have relatively higher sanctioned load but have no energy consumption as the owners stay out. Or for that matter, any family that has gone for a holiday and has not consumed any electricity for a month, will have to pay either nothing or a negligible amount. This is because the government, for the first time, will be paying for the fixed charges and surcharges in electricity bills up to certain units,” another official said.

Calculations done by the power department show if a household has a sanctioned load of 5kW or 7kW will also have to pay nothing if there is no energy consumption. Those consuming say 208 units with 1 kW will pay 0 even as their actual bill would amount to 798.71.

In 2018-19, there were around 2.6 million consumers using up to 200 units electricity, while those consuming more than 200 and up to 400 units numbered around 1.4 lakh. Delhi has about 4.9 million domestic electricity consumers as of now.

The total expenditure to be incurred for the revised subsidy is still unknown even as officials are estimating that the cost may increase by at least 300 crore. This is the second time that the Delhi government has tweaked it power subsidy scheme which was first launched as a flat 50% subsidy for those consuming up to 400 units in the year 2015.

Last year, in March, the government had changed the scheme after the DERC had increased fixed charges across all slabs. As per the previous subsidy scheme, which was applicable between March, 2018 and July 31 this year, those who consumed between 0-200 units were charged 1 per unit instead of 3, and those using 201-400 units were paying 2.5 instead of 4.5.

In 2015-16, the first year of the scheme, the government had allocated 1,690 crore for the water and power subsidy scheme collectively. Out of this, the power subsidy bill was around 1,200 crore.

The following year saw the power subsidy outlay rise to 1,577 crore; which further rose to 1,676 crore in 2017-18. In 2018-19, 1,699 crore was set aside for the scheme and in the budget for 2019-20, an allocation of 1,720 was made which was slated to be revised to 1,850 crore until the new scheme was announced.

(ends)

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sweta Goswami writes on politics, urban development, transportation, energy and social welfare. Based in Delhi, she tracks government policies and suggests corrections based on public feedback and on-ground implementation through her reports. She has also covered the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) since its inception.

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