People staying on rent in Delhi will now get free electricity up to 200 units under a new scheme which will allow them to install prepaid meters, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Wednesday.
Tenants will also be eligible to avail the existing power subsidy scheme under which half of the subsidy is given if the monthly electricity consumption is between 201 units and 400 units, Kejriwal said after announcing the 'Mukhyamantri Kirayedar Bijli Meter Yojana'.
Tenants, till now, were not able to get a separate power meter as they were required to take a no objection certificate (NOC) from the homeowner to get an independent connection, he said.
"We have removed this requirement so that tenants now get a prepaid metre using just two documents - rent agreement or rent receipt, and current address proof," the chief minister told reporters.
Under the existing power subsidy scheme, Delhiites do not have to pay bills for electricity consumption of up to 200 units.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government also gives 50 per cent subsidy on bills for power consumption between 201 units and 400 units.
The announcement comes ahead of the Delhi assembly election, which is scheduled to take place early next year.
"It was a long-pending demand of tenants in Delhi. Tenants will have to get a prepaid metre installed after depositing a security money of Rs 3,000," Kejriwal said.
He said many homeowners have multiple tenants that significantly increases power consumption under a single connection, bringing them under a high tariff slab.
"Tenants had to often pay Rs 8 to Rs 10 per unit to their landlords. They were not able to avail benefits of the provision of free electricity of up to 200 units by the Delhi government. In fact, even homeowners in such cases have not been able to get the subsidy," he said.
The chief minister said if a person has vacated the rented accommodation, the same prepaid electricity metre can be used by a new user after depositing a security money of Rs 3,000.
The 'Mukhyamantri Kirayedar Bijli Meter Yojana' also includes ease of installation for tenants.
To make the installation process easier for tenants, meters will be delivered to their houses, and they can do so by calling helpline numbers of power distribution companies -- 19122 for BSES Yamuna, 19123 for BSES Rajdhani and 19124 for Tata Power, Kejriwal said.
"They can fix appointments by calling the helpline numbers and meters will be delivered to their houses after the documentation and verification process is over," he said.
Kejriwal also sought to allay fears among landlords, saying they should not be "insecure" regarding the new scheme.
"As the name suggests, the scheme is for tenants and so, the meters will be installed in their names.
"The 'tenant' word will also be clearly mentioned on the meters. Tenants will never be able to claim themselves as a landlord under any condition," the chief minister assured.