Eye on Elections, Arvind Kejriwal Says Delhiites to Get Free Electricity Up to 200 Units
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the move will cover at least 33 per cent consumers in the capital, whose usage is less than 200 units in the summer.
File photo of Arvind Kejriwal.
New Delhi: In a pre-election sop, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday announced that electricity in the capital would be free for those who consume less than 200 units a month while those who consume between 201 and 400 units would be given a 50 per cent subsidy by the state government.
Addressing a press conference, Kejriwal said Delhi had the cheapest electricity in the country and this was additional relief as he looked to bolster his 'aam aadmi' image before the polls in February next year. Cheaper electricity had been one of the cornerstones of AAP's election campaign in 2015 as well.
Calling his decision "historic", he said that under the "Free Lifeline Electricity" scheme, those consuming 200 units of electricity each month will get no bill.
"Nobody says anything if the VIPs and big politicians get free power. Why deprive the common man? Am I wrong in taking this step," Kejriwal asked.
The increased subsidy for the consumers is expected to cost the government between Rs 1,700 and Rs 2,000 crore annually. Delhi has at least 4.9 million domestic power consumers.
The chief minister said the move will cover at least 33 per cent consumers in the capital, whose usage is less than 200 units in the summer. "During the winter, the power consumption of around 70 per cent people is below 200," he said.
“Every family deserves a life of dignity. Just like good education & healthcare, a basic quantum of electricity to run lights/fans at home is essential for that,” deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia tweeted minutes after the CM's announcement.
Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari said while he welcomes the move, it is aimed at political gains in the run-up to the Delhi polls. "Kejriwal is announcing freebies in view of the assembly elections," he said.
The CM’s announcement came a day after the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) also reduced the burden on consumers by reducing fixed charges for most domestic connections by up to 84%. Kejriwal had congratulated the citizens and said this was the fifth straight year that power tariffs were not raised.
DERC kept the energy charges same for all categories, except for those who consume more than 1,200 units per month. A household whose electricity consumption crosses 1,200 units a month will have to pay 25 paise extra per unit and will be charged Rs 8 per unit.
At the press conference, Kejriwal said Delhi faced four major problems - arbitrary increase of power charges, poor financial health of power companies, power infrastructure had collapsed without investments and huge power cuts.
He said those problems have now been solved under the AAP government as power companies are enjoying better financial health, rates are falling, infrastructure has improved and there is 24x7 power supply in the city.
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