Panaji: The Goa electricity department will reward domestic consumers with a 1% rebate for non-cash payment of power bills from August 1. “The rebate will be reflected in the next bill not the same bill,” said power minister Nilesh Cabral. “The consumer will have to pay the entire bill. The rebate will be credited in the next bill.” He was speaking after inaugurating the department’s first POS machine in Panaji that will allow consumers to make payments via debit and credit cards. The rebate will be available to consumers paying with plastic money as well as those paying their bills online, Cabral said. “We will not stop cash payments, but there will be no benefits for cash payments,” he said, adding that the department would stop accepting cheques and demand drafts from August 1. “Today everybody who has a bank account has a debit or credit card against their name,” he said. “We will run this at this location (Panaji) for the next 15 days, and then launch it all over Goa.” When asked why the department stopped cooperative banks from accepting bill payments, Cabral said that the banks haven’t switched over to the new online system. They were stopped in the interest of the public, he said, adding that the banks would accept bill payments for the month, which would reflect in the system after five days. “People used to come and fight and say their bill isn’t reflecting. Our cycles vary for each place. The banks used to take money between the 1st to 30th of the month, and then take five days to feed in the information and send in the statement. We told them to migrate but they refused.” It is not only banks but even panchayats that can start accepting bills under this system, Cabral said, urging panchayats and municipalities to offer this service to the people under ease of doing business . The department is working with SBI to accept bill payments 24X7. It is also targeting December to do away with physical files in the department and move these online. Cabral said that the department is working to provide 24-hour power supply to consumers, but added that this would take four years. “Twenty-four-hour supply will take some time,” Cabral told reporters. “The CM has promised help to lay underground cables. We will work on those lines. The department has begun preparing estimates. Ultimately, we are working on a model of improving power supply to give 24-hour power to not only households but industries too.” Box Power minister Nilesh Cabral told reporters that the department would provide relief to households consuming fewer than 100 units of power by charging them Re 1 per unit instead of the current Rs 1.40. “With slight modification and without increasing the tariff, we will see that 1.7 lakh consumers using fewer than 100 units of power are benefitted. It is my wish and the CM’s wish,” he said, adding that the department will play around with the tariff slabs to distinguish between those consuming up to 100 units and those consuming more than 300 units. The Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission, which is entrusted with rationalizing the tariff and responsible for regulating the power sector, will take a decision on this. The department will also ask JERC to approve a rate of Rs 4 per unit to those producing solar power through net metering and selling it to the department. “Solar power is not as popular as it is in other states,” Cabral said. “So we will ask JERC to give us a rate of Rs 4 per unit for the first three years.” He added that JERC has approved the rate of Rs 2.93 per unit.