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Maken says Delhi govt's claim of lowest power tariff 'misleading', AAP rebuffs

New Delhi, Aug 29 (PTI) Delhi Congress leader Ajay Maken on Thursday accused the Kejriwal government of "misleading" residents with claims that power tariffs in the city were the lowest in the country, a charge rubbished by the AAP.Aam Aadmi Party's Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh said the Congress leader was "lying" at the behest of the BJP and levelling baseless allegations.Giving an elaborate presentation to the media and members of resident welfare associations here, Maken, who served as Delhi's power minister in 2001-03, claimed that the Average Billed Rate (ABR) in Delhi in 2018-19 was more than in many other state."In 2018-19, the ABR in the national capital was Rs 8.45 as compared to Rs 7.36 in 2013-14. Thus, the power tariff increased by Rs 1.09 in the last 5 years," he claimed, citing data from various sources, including the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Authority(DERC)."Average Billed Rate (ABR) is the total revenue earned divided by the total units of power supplied or the actual amount paid by the consumer per unit. ABR includes fixed charges and variable charges. It may or may not include various surcharges," the Congress leader said."On account of increase in the tariff, the discoms collected Rs 9,999.25 crore extra in the last five years," he claimed.In his response, Singh said, "Ajay Maken has raised baseless questions. It is a lie. His claim that per unit cost of electricity is Rs 8.45 in Delhi is wrong. Either he does not read newspaper or he is not aware of Delhi government's work. Or he is acting as BJP's spokesperson and spreading lies. The way he has justified Gujarat and Maharashtra's power tariff, it seems that BJP has used him as their spokesperson." Comparing Delhi's power tariff with that of other states, the Congress leader said in the last fiscal, the ABR was Rs 6.59 in Madhya Pradesh, Rs 6.63 in Punjab, Rs 7.04 in Rajasthan, Rs 7.05 in Haryana and Rs 7.37 in Bengaluru.Giving out figures, Singh said up to 200 units of electricity is free every month in Delhi, while consumers have to pay Rs 910 per month for 200 units of electricity in Haryana, Rs 1,400 in Maharashtra, Rs 1,350 in Karnatka, Rs 1,200 in Madhya Pradesh, Rs 1,320 in Punjab and Rs 1,588 in Rajasthan."Similarly for 400 units in Delhi, the monthly bill is Rs 1,075 and now compare it with Haryana, where it is Rs 1,820, Rs 2,480 in UP, Rs 3,310 in Maharashtra, Rs 2,910 in Karnataka, Rs 2,950 in Bihar, Rs 2,307 in Telangana, Rs 2,946 in West Bengal, Rs 2,430 in Madhya Pradesh, Rs 2,870 in Punjab, and Rs 3,277 in Rajasthan," he said.The AAP MP also attacked Maken, saying that he did not do his "homework"."Either Maken has not done his homework or he is deliberately misleading the media since it was the Congress government in Delhi, which had increased electricity rates by 100 per cent between 2010 and 2013," he said.Speaking to the media, Maken demanded that the AAP government should transfer power subsidies directly into the bank accounts of beneficiaries and not to the discoms."When LPG and kerosene subsidies can be transferred directly into the bank accounts of beneficiaries, why can we not do the same in the case of electricity in Delhi," he asked.Rs 8,532 crore has been given to private companies as subsidies ever since the AAP came to power, Maken claimed.Singh responded to the claim, saying, "He has nowhere to hide because his own government brought the private discoms to Delhi. After the AAP government came to power in Delhi, electricity tariffs have been consistently reduced since 2015 every year. In 2010, the electricity used to cost Rs 539 for 200 units and in 2013 it increased up to Rs 988. Can Maken explain how a 100 per cent hike took place in the Congress regime?"Maken also said he has filed an RTI application seeking details of consumers who have been given subsidy in the last five years. PTI GVS VIT AG IJTIJT