Sceptical about the scheme’s extension, sources said the issue remained untouched even during the budget announcement made by Delhi Finance Minister A. K. Walia in June.
Is the huge expenditure being incurred on the Commonwealth Games the reason why the Delhi Government is yet to take a call on whether to continue offering subsidy to power consumers in the city? Experts in the power sector claim that paucity of funds could make the Government withdraw the subsidy offered to consumers.
Although the Government had announced that it would retain the Re.1 per unit subsidy for consumers who use less than 150 MW and 200 MW of power during low consumption and high consumption months respectively, it is yet to announce its decision on the 10 per cent subsidy offered to all consumers.
The Government gives a 5 per cent subsidy across the board to all consumers and the power distribution companies match it. But both these subsidies expired on May 31 this year.
Declining to comment on whether the Government was planning to scrap the scheme, State Power Secretary Rajinder Kumar said the Government was “aware of the issue and will take a decision soon.” Mr. Kumar said since the Chief Minister had already announced extension of the Re.1 per unit subsidy, it was only a matter of time before the consumers would actually benefit from it.
“As on date, consumers of both the categories are not being benefited from the schemes. The bills that have been generated for the June-July cycle do not reflect any subsidy. Although the Chief Minister has announced that low consumption consumers will continue to get the benefit, the scheme is yet to receive the mandatory clearance from the Delhi Cabinet,” said Power Department sources.
Sceptical about the scheme’s extension, sources said the issue remained untouched even during the budget announcement made by Delhi Finance Minister A. K. Walia in June. “Even now there are serious concerns about the feasibility of continuing the scheme. On the one hand the Government realises that the schemes acted as an incentive for saving power and encouraged saving, while on the other there is pressure to meet the expenses being incurred on building roads, flyover and expanding the infrastructure required for the Games,” said sources.
In the absence of subsidies the power bills for the months of June and July have increased for consumers in both sections. “First the Government deferred the decision on the ground that it will take a decision based on the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission’s tariff report, but there has been no change in any domestic tariff category, so if this 10 per cent subsidy is withheld then the hike in bills is here to stay,” Power Department sources said.
The 10 per cent subsidy was announced in 2005 following protests by consumers over a tariff hike. The Government then stepped in to lessen the burden on consumers by announcing the subsidy.