ISLAMABAD: The Nat­ional Electric Power Regu­latory Authority (Nepra) on Wednesday approved up to Rs4.46 per unit increase in electricity rates for consumers of K-Electric for two months — October and November — to reduce the federal government’s subsidy payments to the Karachi-based utility, but withheld another 47 paise hike because of legal consequences.

This is on top of another Rs3.28 per unit increase, allowed last week by the regulator for the KE consumers as part of a uniform national tariff hike to be charged across the country for six months — October 2023 to March 2024.

Practically, therefore, KE consumers would be paying an additional cost between Rs4.76 and Rs7.73 per unit depending on their slabs and categories in October and Nov­em­ber, and then Rs3.28 on average from December to March.

The increase has been allowed at the request of the federal government.

In its determination sent to the government for notification, Nepra said it “has decided to allow application of 1st quarterly adjustment of FY2022-23 ranging from Rs1.4874 to Rs4.4547/kWh for different consumer categories, except lifeline consumers based on the consumption of February 2023 and March 2023, to be recovered from the consumers of K-Electric in months of October and November 2023, respectively”.

The regulator, however, did not allow another 47 paise per unit increase for second and third quarters of the last year because the policy guidelines approved by the federal cabinet did not specifically cover those quarters.

This was despite the fact that Nepra had already shared a draft policy guideline that the power division should have got approved from the federal cabinet. These charges have already been recovered from consumers of other power distribution companies (Discos).

“Regarding quarterly adjustment for FY2022-23 i.e. Rs0.4689/kWh, the Authority would process the same or any other such pending adjustment (3rd quarter of FY2022-23) once the policy guidelines clearly stipulates for such quarters, which are pending recovery from KE consumers, prior to the formulation of policy guidelines,” the regulator wrote.

Under the Nepra determination, KE’s domestic consumers in residential category from first 100 units (Kwh) to 300 units per month would be required to pay an additional charge of Rs1.49 per unit in addition to Rs3.28 that will remain in place until March 2024.

The residential consumers using 301 to 700 units and above would have to bear additional burden of Rs3.21 per unit in the coming two months in addition to Rs3.28 per unit for six months. All other consumer categories would have to pay an additional cost of Rs4.46, on top of Rs3.28 per unit six-month charge.

The power division had sought three separate sets of quarterly adjustments for KE to clear the backlog for uniformity with consumers of ex-Wapda distribution companies, for simultaneous and overlapping application of 47 paise, Rs1.49 to Rs4.45 and Rs3.55 per unit additional charges.

Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2023

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