Saturday, May 14, 2022

Punjab govt announces 300 units of free electricity every month for consumers from July 1

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  • Scheduled castes, backward castes, below-poverty-line households and freedom fighters will be charged only for the usage over and above 600 units
  • 300 units of free electricity will put an estimated additional burden of Rs 5,000 crore on the state exchequer

New Delhi: The Punjab state government has announced 300 units of free electricity for households in the state from July 1, with a caveat that they will have to pay the bill in full if their usage exceeds 600 units in two months. However, scheduled castes, backward castes, below-poverty-line households and freedom fighters will be charged only for the usage over and above 600 units. The announcement, which was a key poll promise made by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), was made by Punjab’s Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Saturday.

The party’s national convener Arvind Kejriwal had promised free electricity upto 300 units to voters during his election campaign in June last year.

Free electricity: Move to put burden of Rs 5,000 cr on Punjab govt

The move will put an estimated additional burden of Rs 5,000 crore on the state exchequer. The AAP said that the scheme will benefit 80 percent of domestic category electricity consumers in the state. “From July 1, 2022, each household in Punjab will get free electricity of 300 units per month. And it will be 600 units for two months,” Mann said in a video message on Saturday, when his government completes one month in office.

The Punjab CM said that if electricity consumption exceeds 600 units in two months then a consumer will have to pay the entire bill. “For example, if they consumed 640 or 645 units, then they will pay for 40 or 45 units,” added Mann. It must be noted that Punjab has a two-month billing cycle for power supply. Advertisements announcing free electricity upto 300 units in Punjab appeared in various newspapers on Saturday morning. Mann said that free electricity would allow households to save money, which can then be spent on children’s education and meeting other needs. He said that his government would honour each promise made to the people.

Punjab waives of pending electricity bills of certain category of consumers

The Punjab Chief Minister also announced that the government is waiving off electricity bills pending till December 31, 2021 of those households that have up to 2-KW load. He has also said that there would be no increase in electricity tariff for industrial and commercial consumers and free power to the farming community will continue.

Mann said that his government would ensure round-the-clock power supply to every village and town in Punjab in two-to-three years. He also said that his government would provide the cheapest electricity in the country to the state’s consumers.

The Punjab CM had met Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi on April 12 to discuss the modalities of providing free electricity upto 300 units in Punjab. “The AAP does what it says and does not make false promises like other parties,” said Kejriwal after Mann made the announcement. “An honest and patriotic government with clear intentions has come in Punjab. We will not allow lack of funds come in the way of progress,” he added.

Background

Subsidies on power account for a total financial burden of Rs 14,000 crore per annum for the Punjab government. Out of this, the subsidy bill on account of free electricity provided to farmers alone totals to Rs 7,000 crore. Then, there is a subsidy bill of Rs 4,000 crore because of Rs 3 per unit rebate in electricity tariff implemented by the previous Congress government and free power of 200 units to SC, BC, BPL families and freedom fighters. For making power available to the industrial sector at Rs 5 per unit, the state bears the burden of paying Rs 3,000 crore from its own treasures.

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