The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has once again hiked up the electricity prices by approving an increase of Rs 0.83 per unit. This increase in the prices would come into effect once a notification is issued by the government.
According to NEPRA, the decision was made in the context of adjustment for 2019-20 and the increase was done on a quarterly basis. This hike in electricity prices would impose an additional burden of Rs 84 billion on the consumers as it is going remain unchanged for the next whole year. It is said that K Electric and Lifeline consumers would be exempted from the increase.
On Wednesday, NEPRA increased the Discos tariffs for December 2020 by Rs 1.5359 per unit and a formal notification regarding the “approved” uniform increase of Rs 1.95 per unit in base tariffs of DISCOs is expected to be issued on Thursday (today) or Friday (tomorrow).
This adds up to a Rs 3.4859 per unit increase in DISCOs tariff which would be transferred to the consumers in their bills of February 2021.
The government had earlier approved a huge increase in tariffs of Distribution Companies (DISCOs). The tariffs were raised by approximately by Rs 3.50 per unit, of which Rs 1.5359 per unit raise is for December 2020 in compliance with the monthly fuel price adjustment mechanism. There is also a Rs 1.95 per unit raise in base tariff, just a few days before the formal resumption of IMF’s suspended program.
This newly announced hike poses a threat to Pakistan’s economy and is a major blow to the consumers who are already struggling to cope with rising oil, gas and food prices. Though it would help the government in slowing down the circular debt, it would worsen the consumer’s burden. The impact of this increase would also serve as a near death blow for the textile industry which had started picking up pace after a long hiatus owing to Covid19 lockdowns.
CM Sindh urges NEPRA to lower tariffs
The Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Wednesday asked The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) to reduce power tariffs. He also demanded for a comprehensive package for low-income consumers and also asked NEPRA to stop the power distribution companies (DISCOs) from disconnecting power connections of a whole area over non-payment by a few consumers.
CM Sindh made these requests in response to NEPRA’s announcement to increase the power tariff by Rs1.53 per unit as fuel cost adjustment for the month of December 2020. The cost of electricity is already very high for the consumers and this price hike is going to make it completely unaffordable which would result in them resorting to power stealing, said Shah. Rationalizing the power tariff could help in curbing power theft, he said while addressing NEPRA’s delegation led by chairperson Tauseef Hussain Farooqi.
The NEPRA chairperson acknowledged that the power tariff should be affordable and clarified that this increase of Rs1.53 per unit was for one month only.
Summer is around the corner and measures to control load shedding should be taken in time, said Shah. He further stated that often times law and order situations emerge in the province due to continuous load shedding. The K-Electric, HESCO, SEPCO and other DISCOs disconnect power supply in low-billing areas which is unfair for the ones who pay their bills timely and NEPRA should put a stop to this practice, said Shah.
Farooqi assured the CM that the DISCOs had already been directed to stop this policy.