Chandigarh: To further mitigate the hardships faced by the people amid the COVID-19 crisis and clampdown, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday announced reduction in fixed charges for electricity consumers, along with deferment of deadline for payment of bills, while instructing the Power department to provide uninterrupted 24×7 supply to all Health Care Institutions. The PSPCL will have to bear additional burden of Rs.350 crore due to the various reliefs announced for the consumers, an official spokesperson said, adding that the Chief Minister also lauded the employees of PSPCL and PSTCL for their untiring efforts in maintaining continuous supply of power in this time of crisis. No new disconnection shall be carried out against non-payment till restrictions are withdrawn by the Authority, the Chief Minister has further ordered. The reliefs have been announced in view of the unprecedented situation in which consumers are unable to pay their dues to Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL), according to the spokesperson. As per the Chief Minister’s directives, due date of electricity bills of all the Domestic & Commercial consumers, having current monthly/bimonthly bills up to Rs. 10000/- payable on or after 20th March, 2020, has been extended up to 20th April, 2020, without levy of late payment surcharge. Further, 1% rebate will be given to the consumers (exclusive of any previous arrears) who will pay electricity bills online through digital modes by original due date. The same applies to all electricity bills payable on or after 20th March, 2020 of all the Industrial consumers – Medium Supply (MS) and Large Supply (LS) Industrial Consumers. The fixed charges of the industrial consumers will also be exempted for the next two months, w.e.f 23.3.2020, and Energy Charges may be fixed commensurate with reduction in Fixed Charges (single rate), the Chief Minister has instructed. Since the Revised Energy Charges will be paid by consumers and will not be considered for subsidy, the MS and LS Industrial Consumers whose units remained closed during this period will not be required to pay any electricity dues. Captain Amarinder has further directed A Venu Prasad, Principal Secretary to Government of Punjab, Department of Power, to provide uninterrupted 24×7 supply to all Health Care Institutions such as Medical Colleges, Hospitals, Dispensaries and other Medical Establishments and Quarantine Centres across the States for their smooth functioning. He has also directed that PSPCL shall ensure continuity of supply, and complaints related to safety and restoration of supply shall continue to be attended. However, for other non-essential services which require visiting consumer premises for meter reading, billing, release of new connections etc. may be discontinued during the lockdown period.