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Nepra increases power tariff by Re0.75 per unit

As the power outages continue, its rates keep rising with the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) doing it once again on Tuesday.

It increased the power tariff by Re0.75 per unit instead of giving relief of Rs1.55 per unit, enabling the electric power distribution companies to fleece a whopping Rs5.9 billion from consumers who hardly get electricity for six hours a day. The controversial decision of the regulatory body has deprived the masses of relief of Rs12 billion.

The authority held here on Tuesday a hearing with vice chairman Khawaja Naeem in the chair on the petition of Central Power Purchase Agency (CPPA). The CPPA argued that Nepra had fixed the reference fuel price for the month of April 2012 at Rs7.68 per unit, whereas the factual fuel cost incurred on generating one unit of electricity was Rs8.42. The CPPA pleaded that the electricity of 6.1320 billion units was sold out in the month of April 2013 and the fuel cost incurred on generating the electricity in the month of April stood at Rs51.72 billion.

The system sustained huge loss of Rs120.60 million, the CPPA said, in the head of the transmission losses. However, the regulator had fixed for the month of April 2013 the reference price of fuel cost in the annual tariff of all the Discos sent to Ministry for notification at Rs9.97 per unit. The Authority, while hearing the petition of CPPA, did not take into account the reference price of April 2013 which is Rs9.97 per unit and has done the sheer injustice to the masses.

The CPPA informed the Nepra that the cost of electricity based on furnace oil remained at Rs16.48 per unit in the month of April, based on diesel Rs21.48 per unit, and based on gas Rs4.82 per unit. However, the cost of nuclear electricity stood at Rs1.43 whereas the imported electricity from Iran remained at Rs10 per unit. On account of zero generation of electricity from coal based Lakhra power plant in the month of April, and the less hydro generation, the cost of electricity based on furnace oil, diesel, and gas increased.

Under the rules, Nepra had sent to the Ministry of Water and Power the tariffs of all distribution companies for the ongoing financial year. But even after lapse of 20 years, the ministry did not issue the schedule-1 notification owing to which the Nepra has made base of the reference tariff of Rs7.68 per unit, fixed in the Aril 2012. Under the rules, had the reference price of Rs9.97 approved for the month of April in the tariffs of all Discos for ongoing fiscal been taken, then the consumers would have got the relief of Rs1.55 per unit.

However, the electric power regulator has increased the power tariff by Rs0.75 per unit instead of safeguarding the consumers. The Nepra directed the officials of nuclear power plant to tell the exact heat rates of the plant so that they could know the efficiency level of the plant. The said decision to raise the tariff would not be effective for the life line consumers who consume just 50 units a month. Likewise, KESC consumers will not be exposed to the raise in power tariff.

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