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Gruha Jyothi will cover 96% households, says Energy Minister K J George

Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar said that the government has given the 10% buffer
hruthi H M Sastry
Last Updated : 03 June 2023, 17:51 IST
Last Updated : 03 June 2023, 17:51 IST
Last Updated : 03 June 2023, 17:51 IST
Last Updated : 03 June 2023, 17:51 IST

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The Gruha Jyothi free power scheme will require Rs 13,000 crore annually and 96 per cent of households with electricity connections will be covered, Energy Minister K J George said on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters, George said there are 2.14 crore households with Revenue Register (RR) numbers in the state.

George said the government would calculate the annual average consumption of a household and provide a buffer of an additional 10 per cent usage.

"If this falls within 200 units, the household is eligible for free electricity. If a household crosses its annual average consumption and the 10 per cent buffer, they will have to pay for the extra units," the minister said.

Criticism

However, the Congress is receiving criticism for "misleading" citizens. As things stand, the Gruha Jyothi is not a blanket '200 units free for everyone'. During election campaigns, Congress promised free power up to 200 units without strings.

Having stormed to power, Congress leaders are now in a bind. The annual average power consumption of a household is being taken as the base in order to make the scheme financially viable, according to sources.

"If people are consuming 60-70 units on average, why should they be made to consume 200 units? If everybody consumes 200 units, the subsidy will be 45,000 crore," an official explained.

Wary of misuse

Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar said that the government has given the 10 per cent buffer to help families shift to additional electrical equipment if needed.

"For instance, some people are buying electric stoves because the LPG is costly. The whole point of Gruha Jyothi is to aid families cope with inflation," he said.

The government is also wary of electricity misuse. "A person whose annual consumption is 100 units cannot once and for all jump to 200 units," Shivakumar, a former energy minister himself, said.

The Gruha Jyothi will kick in from the July power bill that will be generated in August.

Any arrears in power bills up to June-end have to be cleared by consumers, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah specified after Friday's Cabinet meeting, where the Gruha Jyothi scheme roadmap was approved.

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Published 03 June 2023, 17:51 IST

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