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Power tariff hike back with no change

Snubbed by the apex court for not following rules and regulations in the recently withdrawn power tariff hike announcement, the government has got the same decision reviewed and endorsed by the relevant regulatory body under which the domestic consumers will face 72-176 per cent hike in power tariff. Water and Power Ministry is all set to issue notification to this effect on Friday (today).

The federal government had to withdraw its notification of the latest power tariff hike last week as the apex court observed that it was not routed through Nepra (National Electric Power Regulatory Authority). The regulator in its review has maintained almost the same tariff for different categories of consumers as was determined in the withdrawn notification of the power ministry, dashing hopes of the unfortunate consumers who saw a silver lining in the Supreme Court suo moto notice of the matter.

A senior Nepra official told TheNation that the authority has dispatched its reviewed decision to the ministry. The power ministry would issue notification in the light of Nepra Act, he added. Another senior official told that Nepra has finalised its review without conducting even a single public hearing or taking the stakeholders on board over the matter. It has determined 72-176 per cent hike in tariff for domestic power consumers, despite the concerns raised by the Supreme Court about the colossal hike in the power tariff.

Sources told this scribe that water and power ministry in a bid to fulfil necessary legal requirements had submitted a review application on October 4 with Nepra, seeking review in the tariff of fiscal year (FY) 2012-13 of power distributing companies (Discos). The ministry in its application asked the Nepra to clearly mention the subsidy in the power tariff being given by the federal government to the each category of power consumers.

The Nepra in its decision with regard to determination of domestic power tariff of the all power supplying utilities (Discos) has now finalised 72-176per cent hike in tariff rates of Dicos for FY 2012-13, which will be applicable across the country from October 1. And, as per section 31 (4) of the Nepra Act, the water and power ministry will notify these power prices without any amendment.

The tariff for domestic power consumers using up to 50 units/month, the power tariff has been kept at Rs2/unit and tariff of those power consumers that use 1-100 units/month has been fixed at Rs5.79, while tariff for consumer using 101-200 units has been maintained at Rs8.11/unit.

The government has allowed only one-slab benefit when consumption moves into the higher slab of above 200 units per month. The tariff for 201-300 units per month has been increased by 72pc directly (Rs8.11 per unit) to Rs14. In this category consumers will get benefit on Rs5.79 per unit on initial 100 units. The tariff for 301-700 units has been increased by 30pc directly (Rs12.33 per unit) to Rs16. In this category consumers will face an increase of 30 pc to 142 pc because of unavailability of two lower slabs benefit. Their tariff will start from Rs14 per unit on initial 1-300 units.

The tariff for above700 units per month has been directly increased by 19.5pc (Rs15.07 per unit) to Rs18. Consumers in this category will not get the benefit of three lower slabs. Their tariff will start from Rs16 per unit on 1-700 units and above700 unit/month will be Rs18 per unit. Domestic consumers of this category will face an increase of 19.5pc to 176 pc because of not providing lower slabs benefit.

The government has ended two separate slabs of D-I of Rs10/unit and Rs6.77/unit of slab D-II of tubewell consumers. The rate of the new single slab for all loads, after 53 per cent increase in the rate of D-II slab consumers, has now reached at Rs10.35/unit. The sources disclosed that federal government is however providing a reduced subsidy of Rs168 billion to all power consumers.

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