ISLAMABAD: After questioning the justification for furnace oil-based expensive power generation, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) on Tuesday reserved judgement on 86 paisa per unit increase in electricity rates demanded by ex-Wapda distribution companies (Discos).
“The decision will be issued after carrying out analysis with regards to the statements made by National Power Control Center (NPCC) during the course of hearing,” announced the regulator in a statement after a public hearing presided over by Vice Chairman Saifullah Chattha and attended by three other members.
Interestingly, the case officers before conclusion of the hearing said they proposed about 84 paisa per unit increase in tariff with a revenue impact of Rs12 billion. However, as the TV channels run tickers about a 84-paisa rise, Nepra issued a statement saying “as on today, no decision of the authority on the subject matter has been made”.
But this had already created ripples in the political circles. PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif strongly reacted to the purported tariff increase and termed it an extreme cruelty.
He said the people of Pakistan have out rightly rejected this decision and that the government tried to become hero by making a big deal out of not raising petrol prices when it is already cheap in the international market, but ended up becoming zero by raising the electricity tariff.
According to Sharif, it was government’s criminal negligence not to buy cheap LNG which led to the hike in tariffs due to furnace oil-based electricity. “Imran Khan is filling up the pockets of his mafia friends with the public money looted from wheat, flour, sugar and patrol while the people of Pakistan are starving to death,” he said.
He said the economy, industry, business and employment have hit rock bottom while the government continues to crush the nation with added taxes and tariff hikes. The administration had already made record increases in the cost of electricity and gas and the prime minister has no moral grounds to criticise K-Electric after these tariff hikes, he continued.
PPP lawmaker Sherry Rehman also criticised the tariff hike and demanded its immediate withdrawal. She said the government was penalising the K-Electric for hike and on the other hand increasing electricity rates itself. She demanded that the administration should not punish the people for its own mismanagement and incompetence.
The Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA) which had filed tariff petition for monthly fuel price adjustment on behalf of Discos claimed an additional cost of 86 paisa per unit for electricity consumed in July under the base tariff 2015-16. This involved an estimated revenue generation of about Rs13bn to the Discos.
Published in Dawn, September 2nd, 2020