Media misreporting adds to already confusing matter of “Rs 1 lakh electricity bill of Kejriwal”

Today, various media reports came up that an RTI had revealed that Arvind Kejriwal’s official residence had used electricity worth more than Rs 1 lakh over a period of two months. This flew in the face of the “aam aadmi” image of Arvind Kejriwal and was used by many to show him down. Are these reports true?

Firstly, media is wrong in saying Kejriwal’s home electricity bill is Rs 1 lakh plus. AAP has claimed that the official residence was split up into 2 parts: One for CM’s residence, other for a “General Administration Department” for work related to CM’s office. So to say the entire bill is for Kejriwal’s home, thereby giving an impression that it was for personal use, is incorrect.

The second confusion is about the amount of the bill. News articles like this and this, which are based on ANI reports claim that the RTI has revealed Kejriwal recieved 2 bills of Rs 55,999 and Rs 65,780 (Total Rs 1,21,779).  On the other hand, reports like this one by Times of India, based on PTI news service, claim “The general administration department of Delhi government has furnished the copies of electricity bill of Kejriwal’s Civil Lines residence running into Rs 91,000“. The same report, quotes a BJP spokesperson saying that the bills are for Rs 55,000 and Rs 48,000, totalling to Rs 1,03,000.

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AAP on their part, in their clarification have given the following data:

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Firstly, AAP has not given information of the bill for month of May, claiming it is “Unpaid”. This is odd since, although unpaid, a bill is a bill, and naturally this information needs to be given.

Secondly, the grand total of AAP’s figures is Rs 1,10,865 (excluding “unpaid” of May), which doesn’t tally with any of the figures in the media. In fact, if a trend based estimate of May is taken, the figure may shoot well over any media estimates. 

The only media estimate, which somewhat matches with AAP’s figures is ANI’s estimate, which says 1 bill is of Rs 55,999. This matches with bills of April which total to Rs 56,000. So if we assume ANI has got it right, the total bill would be Rs 1,21,779, which means AAP’s clarification saying total bills are Rs 1,10,685 is incorrect. If AAP’s clarification is said to be the base, then the RTI reply given by the Delhi Government may as well be incorrect.

Figures apart, one thing is clear, the bills for Arvind Kejriwal’s residence are a mere Rs 47,060 for 3 months, i.e. Rs 15,000 odd per month. Considering that this is during the summer, when ACs and other equipment run much more, the figure seems reasonable.

What is concerning though is that monthly bills for the “office” portion have reached near Rs 50,000. Considering that office will mostly have a few ACs and some computers etc, not any heavy machinery, this amount may seem excessive.

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