New Delhi: Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal Thursday announced free power up to 200 units every month for consumers, a decision likely to benefit about 3.2 million residents in the national capital. The existing 50% subsidy for electricity usage of 201-400 units will continue.

The free power decision, which comes ahead of Delhi assembly elections due by February next year, is expected to cost 1,800-2,000 crore annually, Kejriwal said. The amount is the same as what the government currently bears in subsidizing power. The Delhi government presented an annual budget with an outlay of 60,000 crore for FY20.

“Those in Delhi, who consume up to 200 units of electricity, need not pay their electricity bills. They will get a zero electricity bill. Consumers of 201-400 units of electricity will receive approximately 50% subsidy. I am delighted to announce that the cheapest electricity in the country in available in Delhi today," said Kejriwal, who is also national convener of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

The scheme takes effect immediately.

“It is the basic lifeline commitment, like we did for water, that the government is giving for electricity. The scheme will also help reduce the power load in the national capital," he said at a press conference.


Kejriwal said 200 units cost 1,400 in Mumbai, 910 in Gurugram and 1,310 in Noida, while in Delhi it is free. The chief minister added that in 2013, people were paying 928 for 200 units of electricity and the amount was 622 until 31 July.

The announcement comes a day after Kejriwal said there will be no hike in electricity tariff for the fifth consecutive year in Delhi.

Soon after coming to power in 2015, the government had announced a 50% subsidy on monthly power consumption of up to 400 units and 20,000 litres of free water per month to all households. Free water and reduced electricity prices were AAP’s key poll promises. At that time, the scheme cost the exchequer around 1,670 crore annually.

Opposition parties criticized the announcement as a “poll stunt".

“The Kejriwal government has not done any work in over four years, just fought and now is trying to save himself by offering subsidies. People will not come under these false promises," said Vijender Gupta, leader of Opposition in the Delhi assembly.

The announcement comes less than eight months ahead of polls in the national capital. In the 2015 elections, AAP had swept the state, winning 67 of the 70 assembly seats. The term of the assembly comes to an end in February

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