ISLAMABAD - The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) has approved a hike of around Rs1.55 per unit in power tariff for the second quarter (October to December) of the previous year.

The decision of increasing power tariff would help in recovering Rs39 billion from consumers as additional cost for second quarter October-December FY 2021-22 under Quarterly Tariff Adjustment (QTA) mechanism. This would be effective from July 1, 2022.

Discos initially had sought positive adjustment of Rs41.024 billion for second quarter of previous fiscal year on account of capacity charges, variable O&M, Use of System Charges (UoSC) and Market Operator Fee (MOF), impact of T&D losses on monthly FCA and over recovery of Energy Purchase Price (EPP). However, during the hearing on April 28, 2022, the representatives of Discos revised their requested adjustment downward to Rs39.001 billion at the rate of Rs 1.5547 per unit. The NEPRA, in its determination, has approved the requested increase for second quarter of FY 2021-22 in QTA.

Meanwhile, the Friends of Economic and Business Reforms (FEBR) has asked the government to exempt the industrial zones from electricity loadshedding, as the power crisis, all over the country, has worsened and the total shortfall has crossed the level of more than 7,440MW. He endorsed the Prime Minister’s statement that Pakistan’s oil import bill is very high, which could only be reduced by promoting green energy. FEBR President Kashif Anwar urged the government to end load shedding from the industrial area as power interruption is causing drastic effects on production and exports.

Meanwhile, Kashif Anwar, the LCCI former president, welcomed the new solar policy and removal of GST on solar panels and strongly demanded to manufacture these panels locally under imports substitution program on war footing basis. He said that FEBR has already demanded that policies should be made to ensure that Pakistan goes solar, as salvage of our economy, as well as, securing future of our coming generations is closely linked to renewable energy.

He appreciated that the prime minister has stressed the need for a compulsory solar geyser policy for every household. Kashif Anwar said that banning import of luxury goods would greatly save our economy and help bridging the yawing current account, as well as, trade deficit. He said after costly foreign loans, our huge oil import bill is another major factor devouring our precious foreign exchange reserves. He said though it would take decades to come out of the foreign debt trap, but going solar could provide some immediate relief in shape of lesser oil imports. He said it would also reduce skyrocketing bills of domestic, commercial, industrial and agricultural electricity consumers.

He also welcomed the government to allow one-time special permission for the release of stranded consignments of banned items at ports and airports reached on or before June 30, 2022, appealing the authorities to also compensate the importers through payment of demurrage and detention charges, as the companies had faced huge losses in this regard. He appreciated the decision the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet, especially the Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, who took the initiative on the demand of the business community. Regarding power situation, he said that the country has an installed capacity of electricity of over 39,000 MW, but currently the system is producing 15,000 MW of electricity, which shows the inefficient performance of the power sector. He said that Pakistan’s energy sector has been facing great losses and distortions in the distribution sector for years, costing the national exchequer billions of rupees annually. He also stressed for bringing drastic improvement in the performance of power companies as uninterrupted supply of electricity to businesses and industries is the key requirement to ensure better growth of economy. He feared power outages would lead to an alarming rise in unemployment in the industries and urged the federal government to immediately resolve the issue. The prime minister should take immediate steps and if it’s not resolved, the situation may become more serious, he added.