Consumers have to pay for increased power rates: Nepra chief
Reserves judgement on govt plea seeking hike in base tariff for high-end consumers
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The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority chairman has said that the production cost of electricity has hiked many times adding that the consumers should have to pay for the increased rates, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
A Nepra bench headed by its Chairman Tauseef H Farooqi on Wednesday completed the public hearing of a petition filed by the government seeking an increase in phases in basic tariff to make it uniform. The bench, however, reserved its judgement.
In its petition, the government told the regulator that it wanted to increase power rates for consumers of the “unprotected category” using up to 100 units per month by about Rs4.06 per unit instead of Rs7.91 worked out by Nepra, and hence this burden had to be passed on to the higher consumption categories.
During hearing, power division additional secretary while giving briefing to the bench said that the Nepra had approved Rs7.91/unit hike in the basic tariff of electricity on June 4. But the government does not want to put all the burden on consumers in one go, he said adding that despite an increase in basic tariff rate in phases, the government still was giving Rs220 billion subsidy on it.
Under the government directive, the base tariff for those consuming 101-200 would be increased by Rs7.21 per unit in phases to Rs18.95, while the rate for 201-300 per month would go up by Rs8.31 to Rs22.14 per unit. The rate for 301-400 units would increase by Rs4.30 per unit to Rs25.53, while the rate for 401-500 units would increase by Rs6.51 per unit to Rs27.74.
Likewise, the base rate for 501-600 units will increase to Rs29.16 per unit, up by Rs7.93, and that of 601-700 units will go up to Rs30.30 per unit, showing an increase of Rs8.97 per unit.
The base tariff for consumption above 700 units per month would go up to Rs35.22 per unit, with an increase of Rs11 per unit. The base rate for time of use (TOU) meters would go up by Rs10.06 to Rs34.39 for peak consumption hours and to Rs28.07 per unit for off-peak hours.
The power division authorities told Nepra during hearing that after the rebasing, the protected consumers would get a lower tariff. They said that the irrigation sector was being given Rs93 billion subsidy. On this, the Nepra asked the government to provide it statistics regrading subsidies being provided to every category.
The Nepra chairman said that the fuel prices were rising in the international market. He said in the past, the coal rate was $50/ton and now its rate had gone up to $400/ton. He said fuel became 8 times costlier and the rate of US dollar had also become almost double. The electricity production cost has soared by 16 times, the chairman said adding that if the consumer does not pay for the increased rates, who else would pay? He declared that besides a hike in tariff, the fuel price and tri-monthly adjustment would continue to add to the electricity bills.
After completing the public hearing of the government plea, Nepra reserved its judgement which will be released after making a thorough analysis of the data.
Nepra said that it would soon complete its working out and send it to the federal government which afterwards would issue notification of the final electricity tariff rate.
Reporter Awais Kiyani