The Punjab government on Monday slashed power tariff by Rs 3 per unit for domestic consumers, a move which comes just months ahead of the Assembly polls and will put a burden of Rs 3,316 crore per year on the exchequer.
The decision will come into effect immediately and benefit around 69 lakh consumers. There are around 72 lakh domestic consumers in the state.
The announcement was made by CM Charanjit Singh Channi after a Cabinet meeting.
"We are reducing power tariff by Rs 3 per unit for domestic consumers," said Channi addressing the media here.
It is a "big Diwali gift" for people, he said, adding that the decision will come into effect immediately and put an additional burden of Rs 3,316 crore per year on the exchequer.
He said according to a survey conducted by his government, people wanted quality and cheap power.
With this decision, the tariff rate for the domestic category has become cheapest in the country, he claimed.
"People of Punjab do not want anything free. They want quality power at cheaper rates," he said while quoting the survey.
Channi said for up to 100 units of consumption (up to 2 kW), the power tariff will drop to Rs 1.19 per unit from Rs 4.19 per unit and for 101-300 units, the tariff will be Rs 4.01 and for above 300 units, the power rate will be Rs 5.76 per unit.
Similarly, power rates for more than 2 kW and up to 7 kW will also come down.
Taking about the AAP government in Delhi, Channi said its power subsidy is Rs 2,220 crore per year as against Rs 14,000 crore in Punjab.
Channi said his government was procuring power at a cheaper rate and would pass on the benefit to consumers.
His government has issued a notice of termination of the power purchase pact with the GVK Goindwal Sahib power project as it was costing Rs 6-7 per unit, he said.
For this project, no tenders were called, he alleged taking a dig at the previous SAD-BJP regime.
He said tenders had been issued for buying solar power at Rs 2.38 per unit.
Three power purchase pacts will also be reconsidered and a bill be brought in the Vidhan Sabha in this regard, the CM said.
"We have started buying power at cheaper rates," he said.
Existing free power facility of up to 1 kW to Scheduled Castes, Other Backward Classes and BPL categories will continue, he added.
Prior to Channi's announcement, the power subsidy bill of the state stood at Rs 10,628 crore.
The Aam Aadmi Party and the Shiromani Akali Dal had already promised 300 units and 400 units of free power, respectively, if their parties come to power in the Assembly polls early next year.
Punjab Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu has also been pressing for providing power to people at cheaper rates.
The state government has been facing the ire of the opposition and various sections of society for costly electricity.
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