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Gruha Jyothi grabs lion's share, no relief for escoms

The Gruha Jyothi scheme which offers up to 200 units of free electricity per month, based on the consumption of each household
Last Updated : 07 July 2023, 21:22 IST
Last Updated : 07 July 2023, 21:22 IST
Last Updated : 07 July 2023, 21:22 IST
Last Updated : 07 July 2023, 21:22 IST

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Though the companies under the energy department are reeling under a huge loan burden of close to Rs 91,911 crore cumulatively, the state budget has failed to provide any relief to the sector.

Apart from the funds for the implementation of the ‘Gruha Jyothi’ scheme, the government has not earmarked any special grants. Funds have only been allocated for the ongoing subsidy programmes.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, while acknowledging the burden on the companies, announced that the government will prepare a ‘Vision Document - 2035’.

"The 'Vision Document - 2035' will be prepared for electricity generation, transmission, and supply in the power sector to improvise the financial status of power supply companies and supply standard electricity to the consumers in the state,” Siddaramaiah said.

According to the data presented in the budget, the cumulative loans by all the departments under the energy sector have increased from Rs 51,086 crore in March 2018 to Rs 91,911 crore by 2023. While the ESCOMs (electricity supply companies) owe close to Rs 16,132 crore to various Electricity Generation and Transmission Companies (GENCOs), the Karnataka Power Corporation Limited (KPCL) has borrowed a sum of Rs 31,145 crore.

Senior officials in the department said that there was a need to streamline the operational process and support the companies. Officials from Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) opined that the ESCOMs need continuous financial support.

"The financial health of ESCOMs also needs to be considered. These are companies that bear the majority of the responsibility in the sector. But, they are also suppressed with hardly any support,” the official said.

Gruha Jyothi Scheme to cost Rs 13,910 cr

The Gruha Jyothi scheme which offers up to 200 units of free electricity per month, based on the consumption of each household, will cost the exchequer Rs 13,910 crore annually.

Speaking to the mediapersons after presenting the budget, Siddaramaiah said that the government had earmarked Rs 9,000 crore to be spent on the scheme in the current financial year.

“Enrolment process to this scheme started from June 18 and till date more than one crore beneficiaries have enrolled,” he said.

There are close to 2.3 crore domestic consumers in the state and the government estimates that 99 per cent of them are eligible to avail the benefits.

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Published 07 July 2023, 17:34 IST

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