AAP keeps poll promise; halves power tariff, gives free water
New Delhi, (IANS) The AAP government Wednesday halved the power tariff for up to 400 units per month and said it would supply 20,000 litres of water free to Delhi's metered households from March 1 - keeping its two big-ticket poll promises.
While the cut in electricity rates through subsidy will benefit over 36 lakh families - 90 percent of the domestic consumers - the free water will be provided to all the 18 lakh metered households in the capital, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia told reporters.
He said after a cabinet meeting here that the power subsidy would cost the exchequer Rs.1,427 crore annually, while the free water would cost of Rs.250 crore.
A consumer will have to pay Rs.2 per unit for up to 200 units a month, in comparison to the Rs.4 per unit at present, which has a subsidy of Rs.1.20 per unit.
For those consuming between 200-400 units, the cost would be down from Rs.5.95 per unit to Rs.2.97. In this slab too, there is an existing subsidy of 80 paise - announced by the central government in last year's budget.
However, there is a rider. The consumer will be charged full rates from zero base if the electricity consumption crosses 400 units. This also applies to the free water consumption.
"The relief in electricity bills will be provided to domestic consumers till the CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) audit of private power distribution companies (discoms) is completed," a government statement said.
During its last stint of 49 days in Delhi in 2013-2014, the Arvind Kejriwal-led government had cut power rates by 50 percent and made 667 litres of water per day for all metered households free. The Aam Aadmi Party had highlighted these two populist measures during its campaign in the run up to the Feb 7 Delhi elections.
"The reduction in power tariff will benefit 36,06,428 families, which is around 90 percent of the domestic consumers," Sisodia said. "The people gave us an unprecedented mandate in the election. Like last time, we will do what we say. We want the burden of paying huge electricity bills off the common man's shoulder," he added.
Sisodia said the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) has been directed to speed up the process of setting up infrastructure to provide free water to colonies which do not have pipelines. The group housing societies will also get the benefit of free water.