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Thursday, February 15, 2024

SHC demands answers from K-Electric, NEPRA over high electricity taxes

The over-billing of the electricity bills and long load-sheddings have infuriated citizens.

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has issued notices to the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) and K-Electric on the petition against the collection of fuel adjustment charges and taxes in the electricity bills.

According to the details, Jamaat-e-Islami leader Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman had earlier filed a petition against the collection of a huge amount in the form of fuel adjustment charges and taxes by K-Electric.

During the hearing today, Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman’s counsel argued that K-Electric should be stopped from over-billing and collecting fuel adjustments and other charges including sales and income tax, and TV license fees in the electricity bill.

Read more: Approaching SC for skyrocketed electricity bills

As a result, the SHC issued notices to NEPRA and K-Electric. Both have been directed to submit their response by September 9.

Protest against K-Electric

The over-billing of the electricity bills and long load-sheddings have infuriated citizens forcing them to take to the streets in different areas of Karachi.

The protesters said that payment of inflated electricity bills was beyond their affordability. Apart from this, power outages for many hours are also carried out, which means they have suffered double punishment. Daily life has been badly disrupted due to load-shedding.

As a result, protesters broke into the office of K-Electric and ransacked it. The office furniture was destroyed, while goods kept in the cupboards were also scattered. Due to the situation, the office staff was also trapped.

Last week, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced that 17.1 million power consumers will be exempted from paying the high fuel adjustment charges in their electricity bills.

On the other hand, Power Minister Khurram Dastgir said that the recently announced exemption for fuel adjustment charges in August’s billing will only apply to consumers who use under 200 units of electricity.

Read more: PM directs revision of electricity bills within 24 hrs to reflect FAC relief

Last month, NEPRA allowed distribution companies to charge an additional Rs.155 billion to compensate for the higher fuel generation cost in June.

The authority allowed unprecedented fuel adjustment charges of Rs11.37 to K-Electric and Rs9.89 per unit to electricity distribution companies previously owned by Wapda, or Discos.