ISLAMABAD - National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) on Wednesday reserved the judgment over the federal government request of increasing the base power tariff which will jack up the electricity rates up to Rs 41.21 per unit for some residential consumers with high consumption.

During public hearing on the motion filed by the federal government with respect to consumer End Tariff Recommendations of XWDISCOs/KE and issue of the uniform schedule of tariff for power consumers, by incorporating targeted subsidy and inter distribution companies’ tariff rationalization, Nepra official informed that the current per unit cost of electricity is above Rs 27/unit inclusive of taxes, which will go up above Rs 40/unit after increase in base tariff. The hearing was presided over by Chairman Nepra Tauseef H Farooqi.

The federal government requested increasing the base power tariff by up to Rs 13/unit for some residential consumers to Rs 41.21 (35.22/unit + 5.9874 GST) with high electricity consumption.

Nepra official said that the determination of increase in base power tariff by Rs 7.91/unit was based on the dollar rupee conversion rate of Rs 200/dollar, but since the rupee depreciated to Rs 222 against dollar, therefore the consumers may face another hike in electricity tariff in the quarterly adjustments.

The tariff approved by the federal government under the tariff rebasing 2022-23  provide some relief for the consumers using up to 100 units per month but for slabs above 101 units is significantly higher than the Rs7.91/ unit hike in the uniform national average base tariff determined by the Nepra last month.

The regulator was further informed that the government would be providing Rs234 billion in subsidies for distribution companies of ex-Wapda and K-Electric (KE) to finance the tariff rebasing cost of poor consumers.

The petition said that request was based on government approval “in anticipation of approval of the cabinet” to modify the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) decision to the extent that “consumers using less than 100 units and falling in the non-protected category shall be charged Rs13.48/unit instead of Rs19.56/unit, and that the consequential revenue differential shall be adjusted in various categories”. The ECC approved   Rs3.50/unit increase in base tariff from July 1, followed by Rs3.50 in August and the remaining Rs 0.91/ unit from October 1.

Under the existing tariff regime, consumers using less than 200 units for a continuous six preceding months are categorised as protected and their tariff will remain unchanged. On the other hand, a consumer with 100 units slips into the unprotected category if his/her consumption exceeds the benchmark even for a month. The rates of such consumers will now be raised in phases to Rs13.48 per unit during FY 2022-23.

It was informed that there will be no change for the life line consumers using up to 50 units per month and 100 units per month and their rate will remain Rs 3.95/unit and Rs 7.74/unit respectively. Similarly for the protected category of 1-100 units’ consumption and 101-200 units consumption the tariff will remain Rs 7.74/unit and Rs 10.06/unit respectively.

For the slab using 101-200 units the base tariff will be increased by 8.59/unit from the existing Rs 10.36/unit to Rs 18.95/unit, for 201-300 units it will be hiked by Rs 9.52/unit from Rs 12.62/unit to Rs 22.14/unit, for 301-400 units it will jacked up by Rs 9.80/unit from Rs 15.73/unit to Rs 25.53/unit.

For the consumption of 401-500 units the proposed tariff increase is Rs 10.55/unit from the existing Rs 17.29/unit to Rs 27.74/unit, for the consumers using 501-600 units an increase of Rs 11.05/unit has been proposed which will take the per unit cost from Rs 18.11/unit to Rs29.16/unit, for the consumers using  601-700 units a hike of Rs 11.55/unit has been recommended which will take the cost of per unit for this slab from the current Rs 18.76/unit to Rs 30.30/unit. For the consumers consuming above 700 units will pay Rs 35.22/unit instead of the existing Rs 22.22/unit.

Nepra chairman said that Nepra has to approve the base tariff; who to give how much subsidy is the job of the federal government.

“Power division will provide us details of subsidy, and we will adjust the subsidy amount in the tariff and issue a new tariff,” Nepra official said. The judgment will be announced later.