The Centre will extend financial support to states to enable them to offer new electricity connections free of cost to everyone.
At present, electricity connections to only below poverty line (BPL) families are offered for free. A senior government official said that the Union power ministry has proposed to extend the free connections scheme to all in line with the Centre’s goal to achieve 24x7 power for all by March 2019.
Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) is working on a scheme to provide long-term loans to states that agree to offer free new electricity connections. The scheme will be a key issue for discussion when Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal meets state power ministers during the two-day conference of power ministers starting October 7 in Gujarat. REC is working on a scheme for financing the power distribution companies so that they can release new electricity connections to households.
The scheme covers funding of expenses like laying of lines to give access to electricity, installation of meters and other accessories. As per the plan, the distribution companies will have to get new connection plans approved by REC, which will reimburse expenses incurred by power utilities in giving electricity access to households.