NEPRA defers decision to increase power tariff

ISLAMABAD: The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) on Thursday deferred its decision to hike electricity price, saying that the same would be decided after “verification of data”.

According to a NEPRA official, the authority will take its decision regarding the proposed hike under the head fuel price adjustment of September after complete verification of data. “If the data is verified, there will be a price hike as proposed, whereas the verification process will be completed within the next seven days.”

It may be noted that the authority, after receiving a request from Central Power purchasing Agency (CPPA) to jack up electricity price, had called an online hearing on Oct 29 (today) to consider the proposed fuel price adjustment and to arrive at a fair decision in this regard.

The CPPA, on behalf of power distributing companies (DISCOs), had sought a per-unit increase of Rs1.36 in power price under the head fuel price adjustment for the month of September 2020.

As per details provided by CPPA, the variation in actual and reference fuel charges was Rs2.8410/kWh in September, which was why CPPA asked NEPRA to allow Rs1.36/kWh hike in the power tariff.

Based on the monthly data provided by CPPA, around 37.18pc of electricity was produced in the country from hydel sources, while 17.42pc was generated from coal, 5.82pc from furnace oil, 10.10pc from domestic natural gas, 21.40pc from imported LNG, 1.34pc from wind and 5.17pc from nuclear sources.

During the course of hearing on Thursday, NEPRA officials informed that power generation with diesel and furnace oil in September had caused approximately Rs10 billion heavy burden on the exchequer.

The National Power Construction Corporation told NEPRA that power price would witness a further hike in December 2020 and January 2021, as furnace oil would be used as fuel for power generation purposes mainly owing to gas shortage.

Speaking on the occasion, NEPRA Chairman Tauseef H Farooqi expressed his annoyance and asked why the common public should bear the cost of errors in the system? Deploring the closure of Sahiwal power plant, the chairman said power consumers could have been given a Rs2.5 billion relief if the said plant had remained operational.

He maintained that the decision regarding fuel price adjustment for the month of September will be announced during the next seven days after necessary verification of presented data.

Pursuant to section 31 (7) of the NEPRA Act and the mechanism for the monthly fuel price adjustment prescribed by the authority in the tariff determination of ex-WAPDA DISCOs, the authority may on monthly basis make adjustment in the approved tariff on account of any variation in the fuel charges and policy guidelines as the federal government may issue and notify the tariff so adjusted in the official gazette.

Ahmad Ahmadani
The author is an investigative journalist. He can be reached at [email protected]

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