No tariff hike for Domestic, agricultural power consumers: Walia

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New Delhi, Feb 24 (UNI) A day after the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) announced a tariff increase plan, Power Minister A K Walia today said there would be no hike for domestic and agricultural consumers.

''The Government has already decided to freeze tariff at the level of 2004-05 for these two categories,'' Dr Walia said.

The move is seen as a sop for election-bound Delhi where Assembly polls are scheduled for the year-end.

The new plan, applicable from April 1, will result in an increase of Rs 25 to 30 in the monthly power bill.

The Minister said the Government would bear entire amount of marginal increase announced by DERC and ensure that no hike takes place in respect of domestic and agricultural consumers.

On February 22, the Delhi Cabinet decided to freeze power tariff and consequently release subsidy to ensure no power tariff hike for these two categories.

Reiterating the commitment of the Government to safeguard interests of the consumers, Dr Walia underlined the need for maintaining status quo for domestic and agricultural consumers.

He said power rates have, in fact, been brought down for those consumers who would contain their monthly consumption upto 150/200 units during non-peak and peak months respectively.

''These consumers would be charged one rupee less Rs1.20 per unit. This would not only provide relief to those poor families whose consumption is limited but also exhort others to conserve electricity at large by limiting their consumption to remain within eligibility criteria for availing subsidy,'' he added.

Dr Walia expressed confidence the benefit of this scheme would reach to more than 10 lakh consumers mostly from weaker sections and poor families.

The Government had been releasing subsidy to negate hike of 10 per cent announced in 2005 and this subsidy has also not been withdrawn, he added.

''The Government would take all appropriate steps including additional subsidy to ensure tariff freeze similar at the level of 2004-05,'' he stressed.

He said the power Department has intensified its monitoring to ensure uninterrupted power supply in Delhi.

''Committees have been set up at Assembly levels to take stock of deficiencies in supply. The elected representatives are also being apprised about the ground level realities,'' he added.

Dr Walia expressed confidence that un-interrupted power supply and status quo in respect of power tariff would become possible with fast reduction in AT&C losses.

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