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Friday, July 19, 2024

Power tariff hiked by 40pc over three years

Since coming to power in 2018, the PTI government has increased power tariff by 40pc over a time span of three years; against NEPRA's recommendation.

Additional Secretary Power Division, Waseem Mukhtar, has stated before the National Assembly Standing Committee on Power that the incumbent government has increased the power tariff by 40% – from PKR.11.72 to PKR.16.44 – over the past three years. Despite this increase in tariff, circular debt has doubled since the PTI government took the reins of the country in 2018.

The energy sector circular debt was PKR 2.28 trillion as of June 30th this year, but in just a span of one month, reached PKR.2.324 trillion. This increase in circular debt is a direct outcome of government’s unpaid subsidies with distribution companies bearing its brunt.

Waseem Mukhtar brought to the committee’s attention the fact that NEPRA had advised an increase of 3.34 rupees per unit in base tariff. PKR.1.95 per unit was passed on to the consumers in February this year, while the remaining increase is a ‘political decision’ and will be passed on to the consumers when the government sees fit. He also revealed that government owes 1.3 trillion rupees to the IPPs.

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Ch Salik Hussian, the committee chairperson, requested the incumbent PTI government to attain discount in tariff from Independent Power Producers (IPPs) as private power companies have exploited the government on the issue of tariffs. He stressed on re-negotiating agreements with the IPPs which will provide the much needed economic relief to the consumers.

Furthermore, the issue of inflated electricity bills being charged to consumers was also brought up before the committee. This issue was raised by Agha Rafiullah from Karachi who alleged that billions of rupees had been extorted by Karachi Electric through delayed meter readings. Other members also voiced their concerns regarding similar practices in state-owned distribution companies (Discos).

Vice Chairperson NEPRA, Rafique Ahmed Sheikh informed the MNA from Karachi that the regulatory body’s advisor is looking into the matter and a report has been sought from K-Electric and other power distribution companies, with power division officials confirming that consumers had been over-charged Eid-ul-Azha and Muharram holidays. Agha Rafiullah called for returning of the over-charged amount to the affected customers.

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A sub-committee was also appointed by the committee to consider the issues faced by the legislators pertaining to K-Electric, DISCOs and GENcOs of Sindh. The sub-committee will be headed by MNA Lal Chand, with Engineer Sabir, Hussain Khan Kiamkhani, Saira Bano and Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah appointed members.