Subsidy on electricity bills will be optional for residents of Delhi from October 1, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Thursday.

“The Delhi government will now ask people whether they want to avail subsidy on electricity,” he said,” he said during at a virtual press briefing.

Currently, consumers in Delhi get free electricity for up to 200 units, and a subsidy of Rs 800 for consumption of the next 200 units every month.

On Thursday, Kejriwal said that several residents have told him that they were capable of paying for electricity, and do not want the services for free or at a subsidised rate. The consumers have asked him to utilise the money for development of schools and hospitals in Delhi, Kejriwal said.

“If someone considers himself capable, then he can tell the Delhi government that he does not want electricity subsidy and he can use normal rate electricity,” Kejriwal said on Thursday. “The process of asking consumers about this will start soon.”

Notably, last month the Aam Aadmi Party government also announced 300 units of free electricity every month for each household from July 1.

Delhi, like many other parts of north India, is currently experiencing a heatwave, due to which the demand for electricity has increased. Thermal power plants in several parts of the country are finding it difficult to meet the demand due to a shortage of coal.

On April 28, the Delhi Power Minister Satyender Jain wrote to the Centre to ensure enough coal for power plants that provide electricity to the national capital. He had also warned that the Delhi government might not be able to provide an uninterrupted electricity supply for many purposes, including essential services like metro trains and hospitals.

However, Union Power Minister RK Singh had claimed that problems in electricity supply were occurring not due to coal shortages, but because of state governments’ pending dues with Coal India Limited.