The Maharashtra government has imposed an electricity surcharge of 10 paise per unit on industrial and commercial consumers to finance its scheme to provide 25,000 solar pumps to farmers, a senior official said Sunday.
In view of the forthcoming Lok Sabha and Maharashtra Assembly polls next year, state Energy minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule had recently announced that farmers would be provided one lakh solar pumps in three phases between 2019 and 2021, of which 25,000 would be given in the first phase.
The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company has applied a 10 paise per unit surcharge from November 1 to collect funds for the farmers.
Arvind Singh, principal secretary in the state Energy department, confirmed the move.
"The total expense of the scheme is Rs 8.25 billion and since the state has no resources to spend on the scheme, we have decided to collect funds by applying a surcharge on consumers," Singh said.
He added that power consumers, comprising commercial and industrial users and excluding residential users, will have to pay an additional 10 paise per unit to the total consumption of monthly electricity units.
"We expect to collect Rs 90 crore per month through this surcharge," Singh said.
In the first phase, the government will provide solar pumps having a capacity of 3-5 horsepower (hp) to farmers.
An official from the Power ministry said the price of a 3 hp pump operating on Alternate Current (AC) and Direct Current (DC) supply was Rs 2.40 lakh and Rs 2.55 lakh respectively.
The cost of a 5 hp AC pump is Rs 3.25 lakh whereas the price of 5 hp DC pump is Rs 385,000.