Kerala government has announced a set of subsidy packages for domestic power consumers who had complained of steep hike in electricity bills during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday, June 18, said that the government would underwrite up to 50 per cent of the additional charge incurred by the households during this period.
"The electricity consumption usually increases from February to May but since this time there was a lockdown, the power consumption has increased drastically as all the family members were in the house. As they were unable to take the readings due to the lockdown, consumers have got a consolidated bill for four months resulting in huge amounts," the CM said while addressing the media.
"There has been no change in tariff structure or electricity rates. However, based on the complaints about huge bills, the government instructed the Electricity Board to look into the billing complaints and rectify any errors," he added.
Accordingly, the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has decided to give ample time for making payments in up to five instalments. They have also informed that there will be no disconnection on account of non-payment of bills, the CM said.
The CM also announced free electricity for those with a connected load of less than 500 watts, regardless of the amount of electricity used. Meanwhile, those with a connected load of 1,000 watts and usage of up to 40 units per month, will be billed at Rs 1.50 per unit.
"For usage of up to 50 units per month, 50 per cent of the additional amount billed will be given as subsidy. For usage of up to 100 units per month, 30 per cent of the additional amount billed will be given as subsidy," Vijayan said.
Similarly, for the usage of up to 150 units per month, 25 per cent of the additional amount billed will be given as subsidy and for over 150 units per month, 20 per cent of the additional amount billed will be given as subsidy.
It is estimated that the KSEB will incur an additional liability of Rs 200 crores by providing the subsidy which would benefit about 90 lakh domestic consumers.