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In practical terms, the monthly bills of all consumers will be much higher given the impact of 16 per cent general sales tax that goes up with the amount of average bills. - File photo

ISLAMABAD: The power tariff has been increased by 30 to 72 per cent for different categories of consumers and different regions with effect from March 1.

A notification to this effect for distribution companies of Wapda was issued on Wednesday by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority.

The increase to come into force with immediate effect passes on to consumers the impact of expensive rental power plants, inefficient plant utilisation and adverse energy mix during August last year.

The tariff hike will not apply to consumers using less than 50 units a month and to consumers of the Karachi Electric Supply Company.

Nepra had determined the increase in November but could not enforce it because of dissenting opinion of three of its five members and stay ordered by court.

One dissenting Nepra member has since retired, another stands by his opinion while the third has agreed to the increase with some procedural changes.

The Nepra notification directs “the distribution companies of Wapda to apply fuel adjustment charge of Rs3.0329 per unit to all consumer categories, except lifeline consumers in the billing month of March 2012”.

According to the notification, rates for lower slabs of domestic consumers have gone up by up to 67 per cent while consumers in Azad Kashmir would have to pay over 72 per cent higher tariff for the same quantity of electricity they consumed last month.

On an average, the rates have increased by 30 per cent or Rs3.0329 per unit (kwh).

In practical terms, the monthly bills of all consumers will be much higher given the impact of 16 per cent general sales tax that goes up with the amount of average bills.

The tariff for the first 100 units of domestic consumption has been increased by about 67 per cent to Rs7.58 per unit from Rs4.54, jacking up the monthly bill by Rs354.

For the second slab of 101-300 units, the tariff increase will be of 44 per cent on base tariff of Rs6.86 per unit.

The tariff for 301-700 units has been increased by 28.55 per cent from Rs10.65 per unit and for over 700 units by 23 per cent.

For commercial consumers with sanctioned load of up to 5 kilowatt, the tariff has been raised by 23 per cent to Rs16.04 per unit while for those with more than 5kw by 37 per cent to Rs11.18 per unit.

The consumers in Azad Kashmir have been subjected to the highest increase of more than 72 per cent to Rs7.25 per unit from Rs4.21.

For industrial B-1 consumers, the tariff has been increased by 34 per cent to Rs11.94 per unit and for B-2 by 40 per cent to Rs10.63 per unit from Rs7.59 per unit. The peak tariff for this category will go up by 28 per cent, while off-peak rates will be higher by about 67 per cent.

For bulk consumers, the rates have been increased by 31 per cent for a sanctioned load of up to 5kw and by 35 per cent for load exceeding 5kw.

The tariff for street lighting has been increased by 25.33 per cent to Rs15.04 per unit from Rs12.

Nepra member from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Shaukat Ali Kundi, who wrote a dissenting note, said the merit order of power plants had not been adhered to, resulting in higher utilisation of inefficient and expensive plants and low capacity utilisation of efficient plants.

He said plant maintenance had been ignored by chief executives because of funding shortage, resulting in higher operational losses and malpractices in procurement of equipment and pilferage of oil and lubricants.

“It is abundantly clear that management of respective generation companies failed miserably to improve upon the performance of their plants,” that contributed to higher generation cost and eventually the consumer-end tariff.

“Passing on inefficiencies of Gencos and NTDC to the consumers is in no way justified,” he said.

But Nepra defended the increase on the grounds that “disallowing fuel cost of electricity generated by Karkey and cost of wind energy would further increase the power shortfall which would result in disrupting the economic activities. The authority considers that it is not in the interest of the consumers to disrupt the available electricity which in the current scenario is minimising the demand-supply gap”.