PTI govt acknowledges power tariffs higher in Pakistan

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SOURCEThe Express Tribune
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ISLAMABAD: The government on Wednesday acknowledged that electricity prices were higher in the country because of the policy of fixing tariffs.

The acknowledgement came after interveners, at a hearing conducted by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra), denounced the government for imposing higher electricity tariffs on consumers.

The power-sector regulator held the hearing, chaired by its Chairman Tauseef H Farooqi, on the request of passing a tariff increase of 17 paisa per unit on to consumers in order to recover Rs17.204 billion on account of variation in the power purchase price under the quarterly adjustment for July-September 2019. However, the regulator reserved its judgement.

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Nepra officials asked the representative of Peshawar Electric Supply Company about claims of over Rs3.5 billion relating to the fuel cost component. It was clarified that the amount reflected the difference between the purchase and sale price of power units.

In response to the criticism by one of the interveners over high electricity tariffs, Power Division Joint Secretary Zargham Eshaq Khan acknowledged that electricity rates were higher as the government was bound to increase the rates in line with the policy of fixing tariffs.

However, he added that the cabinet had cleared the Renewable Energy Policy, which would be sent to the Council of Common Interests (CCI) for taking provinces on board. “Provinces had been consulted before formulating the policy, which will bring down the electricity rates due to the improved energy mix,” the secretary said.

He pointed out that the quarterly tariff adjustment mechanism was already in place and the government had notified earlier adjustments for three quarters. The current adjustment pertained to the first quarter of current fiscal year, he said.

Central Power Purchasing Agency-Guarantee CEO Abid Lodhi told the public hearing that power distribution companies had requested for adjustment of Rs19.2 billion in first quarter of the current fiscal year but the amount had been rationalised and set at Rs17.2 billion.

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The Power Division had written a letter to Nepra, requesting it to immediately reflect the impact of first-quarter adjustment on a uniform basis in the monthly bills of consumers till its final recovery. 

Published in The Express Tribune, November 21st, 2019.

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