The federal government has silently hiked the per unit price of electricity by 30 paisas on account of equalisation surcharge for all power consumers except those of Karachi Electric.
Sources disclosed to Daily Times that the government has jacked up power price silently under the equalisation surcharge and issued a notification to this effect.
They said that the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) had turned down the proposal for inflating the price of per unit of power to prevent burdening the masses with added inflation. However, the per unit price had to be inflated to receive the new instalment of the loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The government is likely to earn an additional Rs 4 billion on a monthly basis after the imposition of equalisation surcharge on power consumers of all power distributing companies (DISCOs) except those of K-Electric, sources said.
It is worth mentioning here that this latest price hike took place despite the fact that the Sindh High Court (SHC) had declared the equalisation surcharge as null and void. A copy of the notification available with Daily Times reads,” The federal government is pleased to notify the surcharge at the rate of Rs0.30/kwh on account of recovering the debt servicing applicable to all the consumers categories on per unit consumption in respect of Ex-WAPDA Distribution Companies.” Sources in the Water and Power Ministry voiced opposition against the price hike, saying power consumers of all categories including lifeline consumers who use only 50 units per month would be further burdened with this decision.
The raise in power tariff is only to ensure receipt of new instalment of loan from the International Monetary Fund, they said. Interestingly, a spokesman of the Ministry of Water and Power who was even unaware of the actual raise in the power tariff in a statement to media on Monday tried to justify it. “Practically, there will be no additional burden on the consumers,” he said, adding that a surcharge is a temporary arrangement for a certain period of time and not a permanent component of the tariff, therefore it will not affect the tariff after a specific period, the spokesman said. -dailytimes