In view of the lockdown of the entire country due to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), the Narendra Modi government has now issued a relief package for the power companies. No charge will be levied for providing 24-hour electricity or the bill is generated late.
The government issued a statement, saying the Ministry of Power was announcing a relief as the power companies will be short of cash because the consumers may not able to pay their electricity bills for the next three months.
There is a 21-day lockdown in the country due to coronavirus, due to which business in the country is almost at a standstill. Companies are incurring huge losses. To keep the economy afloat, the government has taken several big steps in the first three days — ranging from free rations to relaxation in the repayment of home loans, car loans and discounts in repaying credit card dues.
The electricity package
The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) will not impose a late charge, surcharge, etc on electricity distribution companies. In turn, distribution companies will not take late charge or penalty from customers.
If you cannot pay the bill during these three months, you can later. No extra charge will be levied on it. And the government wants you to get electricity for 24 hours, seven days a week despite this financial hardship.
Under the new decision, the government has given an exemption to the distribution companies (often referred to as discoms). These companies can pay the arrears of the electricity generating companies later. The generation plants will not discontinue the power supply to the discoms as a result.
The discoms will pay the generation plants subsequently. Electricity distribution companies will also have to pay only 50% of the advance payment.
Notably, 70% of the electricity in the country is made from coal. Therefore, the supply of coal will not be allowed to be interrupted. The Indian Railways has been asked to help in the transportation of coal.