More than Rs3 per unit increase in power price approved

Electricity meters under a transformer in Faisalabad, on September 2023. — APP
Electricity meters under a transformer in Faisalabad, on September 2023. — APP

ISLAMABAD: A Rs3.07 per unit increase in electricity prices has been approved, applicable to all consumers of all power distribution companies, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) said Tuesday.

“The […] adjustment shall be shown separately in the consumers’ bills on the basis of units billed to the consumers in the month of October 2023 in the billing month of December 2023,” the regulator said in a notification.

Nepra has notified the increase on account of variations in fuel charges, the notification mentioned, in a move that will impact millions of the electricity distribution companies’ (Discos) inflation-weary consumers.

The increase will not be applicable to Karachi-Electric (KE) consumers. Moreover, electric vehicle charging stations (EVCs) and lifeline consumers will also not be impacted by the increase, the notification mentioned.

The power prices are persistently on the rise in Pakistan as the cash-strapped nation tries to curb its circular debt and meet the conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The IMF laid forth several conditions — including a rise in power and gas tariffs — for the South Asian nation to unlock crucial funds that allowed the government to avert a possible default on its debt payments.

The latest hike comes on the heels of startling Nepra findings, wherein it was discovered that KE and other power-providing companies were charging millions of consumers excessively.

“Legal proceedings against all Distribution Companies including KEL under NEPRA Fine Regulations, 2021 for violation of the provisions of NEPRA Act, CSM and tariff terms & conditions etc,” a statement issued by the power regulator said.

The authority took “very serious” notice of the complaints that were reported from all over Pakistan regarding excessive, inflated, and wrong bills charged by the distribution companies to the consumers during two months — July and August.

Following the complaints, the power regulator held detailed hearings during which it found that snaps of “meter readings are either invisible or deliberately not taken. Similarly, some cases were reported that monthly meter readings are being taken beyond the billing cycle of 30 days, which resulted in undue/inflated charging of upper slab bills to the less user consumer(s) hence, changing the category from protected to un-protected”.

The committee found that 5.7 million Multan Electric Power Company (Mepco) consumers were charged for more than 30 days of the billing cycle in the month of July followed by Gujranwala Electric Power Company (Gepco) i.e., around 1.2 million in August.

Similarly, Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (Fesco) i.e., more than 800,000 in August, Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) around 700,000 in both months, and Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco) more than 500,000 in the month of July.

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