If the government takes the decision of 300 units of free electricity in Himachal, then about 18 lakh consumers will be benefitted by it. These are all those consumers whose monthly electricity consumption is within the range of 300 units. This number will be between 70 to 75 percent of the total consumers and the state government will have to bear their payment in the form of subsidy.
According to an estimate, it can reach around two thousand crores. At present, the government has to pay a subsidy of Rs 1200 crore on 125 units annually. The Electricity Board has prepared a draft of 300 units of free electricity. The board will hand over this draft to the government and after that the government can take a decision on free electricity in the upcoming budget.
However, this is going to prove to be a big loss deal. At present, up to 125 units of electricity have been made free in the state. During the previous government, first 60 units were given free of cost and after that it was increased to 125 units.
About four lakh consumers of the state were getting free electricity in 60 units, but later by increasing it to 125 units, 14 lakh 62 thousand people started getting its benefits. But in lieu of profit, the government has to pay huge subsidy to the electricity board.
In this, 125 units of electricity are being used by the consumers, whose bills are being paid by the government. The board has prepared lists of consumers using 300 units of electricity.
Presently there are about 22 lakh 59 thousand consumers in the state and out of these more than 18 lakh consumers consume less than 300 units of electricity. Out of these, 14 lakh 62 thousand consumers are going to use 125 units, who are currently not paying any bill.
After making the consumption of 300 units of electricity free, there will be 18 lakh consumers in the state who will get zero bills. After this only four lakh consumers will be left in the category of bill payment and out of these a large number will be of big industrial houses.
Draft of Free Electricity Ready
Managing Director of the Electricity Board, Pankaj Dadhwal said that the board has made a draft of 300 units of free electricity. This draft will be proposed whenever there are orders from the government.
The board will take this step on the orders of the state government to facilitate the consumers. As of now, the draft of the 300 units free electricity has not been submitted to the government. As soon as information is sought from the government, the board will hand over all the facts.
Turn off Freebies
Heera Lal Sharma, general secretary of the Electricity Board Employees Union, said that the government will have to come out of the culture of freebies. This is not only the loss of the electricity board, but the consumers will also have to face difficulties in future.
If this situation continues continuously then the day is not far when the electricity board will have to be handed over to private hands. A meeting will be held with the Chief Minister soon in this regard.