A day after the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) slashed the fixed charges of the power consumers across the national Capital, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced free electricity to people using up to 200 units.
The Delhi Government would give full subsidy to the consumers for 200 units a month and also those consuming 201 to 401 units of electricity will continue to get 50 per cent power subsidy from the Government. The decision of the AAP Government has become effective from Thursday.
The Chief Minister said his Government will have to spend Rs 1,800 crore to Rs 2,000 crore for meeting the revenue gap of the power supplying companies. Kejriwal also hoped that with the AAP Government extending the existing subsidy to its consumers, people would use power judiciously and that will reduce the overall power load in the city. Delhi’s peak power demand has touched 7,400 MW, which was the highest, Kejriwal said.
Terming the electricity reforms historic and miracle for Delhi, Kejriwal said power cuts, inverters, generators and bankrupt discoms are a part of history in Delhi now, “Our honest governance ensures cheapest electricity rates in Delhi and robust electricity infrastructure,” Kejriwal said.
Recalling the days when Delhiites were complaining about skyrocketing bills, Kejriwal said under the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leadership major reforms in electricity sector took place.
When this Government was formed four and a half years ago, the electricity sector was in complete mess whereas today electricity consumers are getting 24X7 electricity at cheapest rates in the country, discoms’ financial health has improved considerably, electricity infrastructure has been strengthened beyond imagination and people no longer need inverters and generators in Delhi,” Kejriwal added.
It may be recalled that in 2013, AAP launched a movement against exploitative electricity bills.
“During our 49-day Government in 2014, on 8th or 9th February an interesting incident occurred. Electricity distribution companies were in such a financial distress that they didn’t have any cash left to continue operations,” said the AAP national convener, adding, “They gave us an ultimatum that if the Government doesn’t give us a certain sum to bail us out, Delhi will face a blackout the next day. They said they don’t have any money to purchase electricity.”
Citing discoms’ improved condition in terms of finance, Kejriwal said each year Delhi’s power would be hiked arbitrarily and people were extremely concerned about rising power bills, discoms were on verge of bankruptcy, however, discoms are in healthy financial state today and they are no longer making losses and have turned profitable.”
“We are in good situation to provide cheap and free electricity to Delhi people as the power infra has been upgraded on massive scale. Power cuts are a thing of the past. This year the peak load during summer months was 7,400 MW. This is unheard of. Under previous Governments, when the load would cross 6,400 MW, Delhi entire grid would be vulnerable for collapse,” he added. Remarkably, Delhi has now the lowest line losses in the country.
According to AAP-led Delhi Government, in 2013, power cuts in Delhi were to the tune of 11.7 crore. In 2018, this figure has plummeted 1.7 crore units, which is about 10 per cent of the number of cuts five years ago.
“I am not just saying this, we have solid data to back up this claim. Even the 1.7 crore units of cuts would be eliminated when the remaining transformers will be changed. The transmission losses in Delhi have gone down from 17 per cent in 2013 to 8 per cent today,” said Kejriwal.
Echoing AAP’s efforts for tremendous price cut in supply of domestic electricity, Kejriwal said there are the two reasons for doing this. Similar to the lifeline water commitment of the Government under which each household gets a certain amount of free water, we believe each household should get lifeline electricity free.” In 200 units an ordinary household can run basic appliances like a fridge, a TV, two light bulbs, fans. If any family is poor in the city, will they not use electricity? The Government is committing to provide a basic lifeline power supply to all households,” Kejriwal emphasised.
“We have learnt from water policy scheme. Instead of wasting water, start conserving water. Our expectation is that a similar trend will be seen after the lifeline electricity scheme is in place as well. Power conservation will be incentivised. The increasing load on Delhi, which has become 7,400 MW today will also be under control. The subsidy needed to fund this is more or less the same as the previous subsidy we had provided. We have restructured the same subsidy,” he added.