Residents of Delhi consuming up to 200 units of power will no longer have to pay any electricity bill. Calling it a “historic decision”, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “Our big leaders, officers get free power as well but no one calls that a freebie. I just want our aam aadmi to also get that facility.”
"Today the cheapest electricity in the country is in Delhi," the Chief Minister said, calling it a "historic decision" that would help the "aam aadmi (common man)". 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," Mr Kejriwal questioned.
According to him, 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.
His deputy Manish Sisodia tweeted: "Just like good education and health care, a basic quantum of electricity to run lights/fans at home is essential for that." He posted with the hashtag #PehleHalfAbMaaf.
For consumers using more than 200 units, the existing rates will apply. The tariff for domestic consumers who use 201 to 400 units, the price is Rs 4.5/kWh, while those consuming between 401 to 800 units will have to shell out Rs 6.5/kWh. Rs 7 is the charge for those consuming from 801 to 1200 units, while Rs 8 will be levied for users using above 1200 units.
Those consuming 201 to 401 units of electricity will continue to get a 50 per cent power subsidy from the government, he added.
On why the announcement was made before the polls, Kejriwal said, “Because it has taken us time. It took time to bring the discoms to good shape. This year the power tariff has come down substantially as per the rates announced by DERC. When we sat down to calculate the subsidy bill this time, we realized that it came to almost nil.”
Fixed charges, which had become a point of contention over the past few months, with BJP, as well as Congress, hitting out at the AAP government over the sharp increase seen last year, are levied on the consumers based on the sanctioned load of each household