Relief for consumers as cap on subsidised power may be raised
New Delhi: With common man reeling under high electricity tariff, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Tuesday indicated raising the current cap on subsidised power that will benefit a large section of consumers but said the affluent may have to shell out more from next month.
Dikshit said Government will make an announcement on providing relief to consumers after Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) announces new tariff next month for the year 2013-14.
"Obviously, certainly (we are going to raise the cap) so that we can cover 60 to 70 percent of the consumers," Dikshit told PTI when asked whether government was going to raising the cap on extending subsidy.
The Delhi government has been giving subsidy of Rs 1 per unit for last five years to those consumers whose monthly consumption does not exceed 200 units. Currently, around 17 lakh domestic consumers out of 42 lakh consumers are benefiting from the scheme which cost the government nearly Rs 230 crore per annum.
Unfazed by criticism over the steep hike, Dikshit said the tariff is likely to go up for those whose monthly consumption was on the higher side.
"I don't think why people living in posh localities should not pay more. They should, certainly they should, they can afford to," the Chief Minister said, adding that Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission will come out with new tariff next month.
Dikshit's comments came amid demands by three private discoms to hike the tariff by up to 13 percent.
Maintaining that tariff fixation was in the domain of DERC, the Chief Minister said it was likely to go up considering rising power purchase cost.
Hike in power tariff has become a major issue in the run up to the assembly elections scheduled in November. AAP's Arvind Kejriwal has already announced that his party would fight the Delhi Assembly polls focusing mainly on hike in electricity and water tariff while BJP has promised that the rates will be slashed by 30 percent if it comes to power.
Asked about BJP's allegation that she was siding with the private power distribution companies on the issue of tariff hike, Dikshit rejected it saying the rates had gone up as prices of gas and coal had risen and due to increase in power purchase cost.
"How can we side with the discoms. The Delhi Government has 49 percent share in the discoms. The tariff has gone up as rates of coal and gas have gone up significantly. Still the power tariff in Delhi is much lower than Uttar Pradesh, Haryana. In fact the rates are lesser than all the cities except Mumbai," she said.
Asked about Kejriwal's movement against power and water tariff, Dikshit said people do not take him seriously. "I don't think people took them seriously."
The a new concept called 'time of day metering' is likely to be introduced in the city under which there will be different tariff slabs for peak and off-peak hours.
The proposed mechanism is being conceived primarily to discourage commercial users from consuming more power during peak hours so that load shedding could be minimised in residential areas in the summer months when the demand goes up substantially.
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