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Power subsidy to help 28 lakh domestic consumers

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NEW DELHI: The power subsidy of up to Rs 1.20, which was approved by lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung on Wednesday, is expected to benefit around 84% or 28 lakh domestic electricity consumers in the city. They have been paying full tariff since April 1 this year after the subsidy announced by the AAP government expired at the end of the 2013-14 financial year.

The subsidy was announced by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley while presenting the Delhi budget in Parliament on July 18 as the city is under President’s rule. The monthly subsidy will be Rs 1.20 per unit for consumption up to 200 units and Rs 0.80 for consumption between 201 and 400 units.

Delhi power secretary Arun Goel said the subsidy would be effective from August 11. The government will have to spend an additional Rs 260 crore up to March 31, 2015 to meet the subsidy bill, said officials. The regulatory authority DERC was informed about the decision earlier this week, Goel added. The discoms have also been told to implement the scheme with immediate effect.

In July this year, DERC had announced new electricity tariff with an average hike of 8.3% across all categories. The tariff for domestic consumers increased by approximately 5%, and that for commercial and industrial consumers by around 11%. But the positive news for domestic consumers was that the regulator had withdrawn the power purchase adjustment cost (PPAC), which meant that electricity bills for a large section of consumers got reduced till the time new PPAC costs are announced.

On December 31, 2013 former chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had fulfilled one of AAP’s poll promises by slashing rates by 50% for those who consume till 400 units. The previous Congress government was already giving a subsidy on the first two slabs of 0-200 and 201-400 units. But AAP’s decision had increased the subsidy, benefitting about 28 lakh consumers. However, the subsidy was valid from January 1 to March 31, 2014—the last quarter of the 2013-14 financial year. The subsidy could not be extended to the 2014-15 financial year as the AAP government quit in February.

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