- Power consumed between 201 and 400 units will be at half price
- The move will cover at least 33 per cent consumers in Delhi, he said
- The BJP called the announcement an election strategy
The people of Delhi will not be billed if they use no more than 200 units of electricity a month from now, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced today. Those who consume between 201 and 400 units of power will only pay half the bill, he added, announcing huge subsidies just days after his big push for regularization of unauthorized colonies.
The latest edition of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)'s signature move - cheaper power bills - comes months ahead of the Delhi election due early next year. It will cost the government Rs 1,800 to Rs 2,000 crore annually on power subsidy, Mr Kejriwal said.
"Today the cheapest electricity in the country is in Delhi," said the Chief Minister.
"Nobody says anything if the VIPs and big politicians get free power. Why deprive the common man? I just want to give the same benefits to the common man who works for 24 hours," Mr Kejriwal questioned.
According to him, the move will cover at least 33 per cent consumers in the capital, whose usage is less than 200 units in the summer. "During the winter, the power consumption of around 70 per cent people is below 200,"he said.
AAP swept the Delhi elections in 2015, winning all but three of the 70 seats in the assembly. The three went to the BJP.
Since then, however, the party is seen to have lost much ground. In the national election, it failed to win even one of Delhi's seven seats, all of which went to the BJP.
Mr Kejriwal said he hoped that the new measure would encourage people to save electricity in Delhi, where the system has been overloaded. "Recently, Delhi's peak power load touched 7,400 MW, which was the highest. I feel that electricity load will reduce due to this move," Mr Kejriwal said.
His deputy Manish Sisodia tweeted: "Just like good education and health care, a basic quantum of electricity to run lights/fans at home is essential for that." He posted with the hashtag #PehleHalfAbMaaf.
Since AAP came to power in February 2015, the Delhi government has been providing 50 per cent subsidy on power bills, making good on one of its main campaign promises.
"The people of Delhi have chosen an honest government. This is the cheapest electricity in the country. In the last four and a half years, the Delhi government has not allowed any hike in power tariff," Mr Kejriwal said.