ISLAMABAD: Power Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan on Wednesday said the government had notified Rs3.50 per unit increase in national base electricity tariff and promised to investigate complaints of overbilling on account of monthly fuel cost adjustments (FCAs) in the current bills.
Speaking at a news conference, the minister said the federal government would engage with Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi not to go ahead with removing time restrictions on businesses because energy conservation was a national issue amid a multidimensional national challenge and Punjab being the largest province was expected to play a lead role in energy savings.
He hoped the Punjab chief minister would not pursue an irresponsible policy once he was explained the ramifications of increased electricity consumption.
He was commenting on an announcement made by Mr Elahi to allow traders to open their businesses 24/7 if they so desired.
Power minister asks Punjab govt to revisit decision of removing time limit on businesses
He said the government was already examining how to minimise the impact of FCAs but hastened to add that the billing in August and September months would remain at the current level and start declining every month beginning November.
The minister conceded the power bills in July were exorbitant owing to increased consumption and relatively higher FCAs in May. Responding to a question, he agreed to investigate if higher units had also been built into the billing for FCAs or for lack of proper meter reading in April or May.
He said the government had been waiting for end-June recoveries to be completed in July and now the performance of power distribution companies (Discos) would be examined and decisions to retain or change them would also be data-based.
Responding to another question, Mr Khan said the government had removed recovery of taxes from traders through electricity bills that would also provide relief in higher tariffs and bills to some extent.
Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2022