Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday announced that power consumption up to 200 units will be free in Delhi. He also said that consumption between 201 and 400 units will also get 50 per cent subsidy from the Delhi government.

 In summer those using up to 200 units of electricity are 35 per cent of total consumers, while in winter the number increases to 70 per cent as the power usage is less, according to officials.

“We hope that with this move, there will be huge encouragement for electricity savings in Delhi due to no charges for 200 units of power. The electricity load has been increasing in Delhi. Recently, Delhi’s peak power load touched 7,400 MW, which was the highest. I feel that electricity load will reduce due to this move,” Kejriwal said. 

Since the AAP came to power in February 2015, the Delhi government has been providing 50 per cent subsidy on power bills.

“The people of Delhi have chosen an honest government. This is the cheapest electricity in the country. In the last four and a half years, the Delhi government has not allowed any hike in power tariff,” Kejriwal added.

Defending his government against possible criticism of “freebies” before the assembly polls, he asked why no one was speaking against the “free electricity for our big leaders and officers in the country?”

“I just want to give the same benefits to my ‘aam aadmi’ (the common man) who works for 24 hours,” he said.

The government will have to spend Rs 1,800 crore to Rs 2,000 crore on power subsidy annually, according to the chief minister.

Manish Sisodia calling it a ‘Historic day for Delhi!’ also tweeted: “CM Arvind Kejriwal declares Free Lifeline Electricity of 200 units to all. Every family deserves a life of dignity. Just like good education and healthcare, a basic quantum of electricity to run lights/fans at home is essential for that.” He posted with the hashtag #PehleHalfAbMaaf.

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However, BJP has termed the announcement as an election strategy.

 “This is not the decision of Kejriwal’s party. This is the result of the BJP’s struggle… We can see it by two angles that it is the strategy to attract people before the elections. They have looted 7,000 crore from Delhi people. When they will refund that?” Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said.

The decision is effective from Thursday onwards.