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Gruha Jyothi Scheme: Karnataka Govt Unveils Guidelines for Statewide Free Electricity Scheme

As the Gruha Jyothi scheme takes effect, eligible households in Karnataka can look forward to receiving free electricity for up to 200 units, providing much-needed relief to residents while the state addresses the challenges posed by rising electricity tariffs.

Shivam Dwivedi
Karnataka Govt Unveils Guidelines for Statewide Free Electricity Scheme (Photo Source: Pixabay)
Karnataka Govt Unveils Guidelines for Statewide Free Electricity Scheme (Photo Source: Pixabay)

The Karnataka government has recently issued guidelines for the implementation of the Gruha Jyothi scheme, which aims to provide free electricity to eligible households in the state. Under this scheme, residents can avail of free electricity for up to 200 units by registering on the Seva Sindhu portal.

The guidelines emphasize that the Gruha Jyothi scheme is exclusively meant for residential usage and is not applicable to commercial establishments. Customers will receive extra usage bills for consumption beyond the free units provided under the scheme. However, if the units consumed are below the eligible units specified by the scheme, customers will receive zero bills.

To avail the benefits of the Gruha Jyothi scheme, it is mandatory for customers to register on the Seva Sindhu portal. Additionally, customers are required to link their Customer ID/Account ID to their Aadhaar number. It is important to note that any outstanding electricity balances until June 30 must be cleared within three months, failing which the electrical connection may be disconnected.

The calculation of the number of free units a household is entitled to will be based on the monthly average consumption of customers during the 2022-23 period. Eligible households will receive 10% more units than their monthly usage average. The scheme will come into effect from July onwards, while from August onwards, households consuming equal to or fewer units than their monthly average will not have to pay electricity bills.

KJ George, the Energy Minister of Karnataka, stated that the Gruha Jyothi free power scheme will require an annual budget of Rs 13,000 crore. This scheme is expected to benefit 96% of households with electricity connections in the state.

According to George, there are approximately 21.4 million households with revenue register (RR) numbers in Karnataka. The government will calculate the annual average consumption of each household and provide an additional 10% buffer. If the total falls within 200 units, the household will be eligible for free electricity. However, if the consumption exceeds the annual average and buffer, customers will have to pay for the additional units.

While initially, chief minister Siddaramaiah announced that households consuming less than 200 units per month would be exempt from electricity bills, the government has now released eligibility guidelines to provide clarity on the scheme's implementation.

In a separate development, the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) recently ordered an average increase of 51 paise per unit under the 'fuel and power purchase cost adjustment charge' (FPPCA). This comes after a previous hike of 70 paise per unit on May 12. Siddaramaiah clarified that the decision to increase the electricity tariff was made by the KERC and not the government.

In response to the rise in electricity prices, the Karnataka Small Scale Industries Association (KASSIA) has expressed concerns and warned of potential industry shutdowns if the price hike is not reversed. The association has been urging the government to postpone any such hikes that adversely affect the industry until the economy stabilizes or for at least two years.

While acknowledging that the government needs time to settle down before making major decisions, KASSIA highlighted the need for sensitivity towards the grievances and challenges faced by industries, especially during these trying times.

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