Special Correspondent

Hyderabad: As a new year gift to the 46 lakh households that have defaulted on the payment of fuel surcharge arrears on their power bills, the Government has decided to offer a one-time settlement to the house-owners.

Announcing this at a press conference here on Saturday, the Minister for Power and Information Mohd. Ali Shabbir said that some of the defaulters had approached courts in this regard. The defaulters could chose to settle the dues in three instalments from next month onwards and there would be no penalty on them.

Those who withdraw the cases against the department would also be entitled to the benefit, he added.

He reiterated that there would be no hike in power tariff for the coming year and that the free power would continue for the full year. The department would be passing on the benefit of Rs. 200 crore that accrued to it through increased hydel generation to the consumers this year, the Minister said.