Amidst the unabated overall price hike spree, the power tariff has taken yet another jump, as the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has approved Rs. 1.95 per unit price of electricity.
NEPRA has issued a notification to this effect. The increase in electricity price is in line with the fuel price adjustment seen in the month of August. NEPRA held a hearing in this regard on 30 September, whereafter the author withheld the decision.
The NEPRA decision will impose an additional burden of Rs. 30.40 billion on power consumers. The power distribution companies will charge this fuel cost adjustment (FCA) in their October bills. The NEPRA decision to increase in reference fuel price will not be applicable to lifeline customers (using up to 50 units). It will also not apply to K-Electric customers.
Vice-Chairman NEPRA, Rafiq Ahmed Sheikh, wrote a dissenting note on the decision of monthly fuel price adjustment under the Authority’s notification that the National Power Control Center (NPCC) had failed to send daily reports of Merit Order violations to NEPRA. The Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA) had identified 166 violations of the Merit Order, while the violations of Merit Order and the weakness of the system caused financial loss of Rs. 1.87 billion. The failure of the power transmission system is the incompetence of the National Transmission & Dispatch Company.
Rafiq Ahmed Sheikh asked, “Why do consumers suffer due to non-compliance with the power transmission system and merit order?”. He said, “Putting a burden of Rs. 1.87 billion on the people in the monthly fuel cost is a total injustice.”
The Vice-Chairman NEPRA deplored that CPPA failed to provide details of financial losses. “CPPA also did not say why high-efficiency power plants were not operated and why the low-efficiency power plants were operated for electricity generation,” he said, adding that it would be an exaggeration to impose the burden of mismanagement on the people by not supplying the exported LNG to the power plants.
He maintained, “It is also not appropriate for NEPRA to pass on this increase to the public without an audit of the previous period adjustment.” He opined that there was also an objection to taking power from the power plants with which power purchase agreements had been changed without the approval of NEPRA.