ISLAMABAD - As electricity consumers hoped against hope that deliverance would come from the judicial messiahs, the government has finally unleashed its Nepra-improvised ‘weapon of funds destruction’ on the inflation-hit masses.
The water and power ministry on Friday issued a notification, announcing a 40-176 percent hike in the tariff of domestic and agri power consumers, to be effective across the country from October 1.
According to the notification, the tariff for domestic or lifeline power consumers using up to 50 units a month has not been changed as it has been kept at Rs2/unit. Similarly, tariff for power consumers using 1-100 units/month has been fixed at Rs5.79, while tariff for 101-200 units has been maintained at Rs8.11/unit.
But the huge number of people who consume 201 to 300 units per month will have to pay at the rate of Rs14/unit. Also, the tariff has been upped to Rs16 per unit on consumption of 301 to 700 units and the tariff for above700 units per month has been directly increased to Rs18/unit.
The government has allowed only one-slab benefit when consumption moves into the higher slab of above 200 units per month. The tariff for 201-300 units per month has been increased by 72pc directly (Rs8.11 per unit) to Rs14. In this category, consumers will get benefit on initial 100 units, for which they would pay at Rs5.79 per unit.
The tariff for 301-700 units has been increased by 30pc directly (Rs12.33 per unit) to Rs16. In this category, consumers will face an increase of 30 to 142 percent because of unavailability of two lower slabs’ benefit. Their tariff will start from Rs14 per unit on initial 1-300 units.
Tariff for above700 units per month has been directly increased by 19.5pc (Rs15.07 per unit) to Rs18. Such consumers will not get the benefit of three lower slabs. Their tariff will start from Rs16 per unit on 1-700 units. For above 700 units consumption, tariff will be Rs18 per unit. Domestic consumers of this category will face an increase of 19.5 to 176 percent because they have been denied benefit of all lower slabs.A senior official at water and power ministry told this scribe that this reviewed hike in the tariff for fiscal year (FY) 2012-13 of power distributing companies (Discos) would be charged from the consumers in next month bills if their bills would have been issued prior to the announcement of this notification. The ministry has issue the tariff notification in the light of section 31 (4) of the Nepra Act, the source said, adding that the federal government is now providing a reduced subsidy of Rs168 billion to all power consumers.
Yesterday, National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) issued its reviewed decision and maintained almost the same tariff for different categories of consumers as was determined in the withdrawn notification of the power ministry, dashing hopes of the unfortunate consumers who earlier saw a silver lining in the Supreme Court suo moto notice of the matter.
The federal government was snubbed by the apex court and there was severe criticism from the political forces, common public for not following rules and regulations and giving unprecedented hike in the recently withdrawn power tariff hike announcement. The government withdrew an earlier notification of power tariff last week as the apex court observed that it was not routed through Nepra. But, on Thursday, it got the same decision reviewed and endorsed by the relevant regulatory body without any major changes.
Interestingly, the Nepra finalised its review without conducting even a single public hearing or taking the stakeholders on board over the matter and approved 40-176 percent hike in tariff for domestic and agri power consumers, despite the concerns raised by the Supreme Court about the colossal hike in the power tariff.