NEPRA scrutinizes Rs7.90 per unit hike for DISCO’s consumers

Already burdened masses should get ready to bear a jolt in the form of colossal power price hike as the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has worked out Rs7.90 per unit increase in electricity price.

As per details, NEPRA on Monday conducted a hearing to consider the request of the Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA) regarding fuel charges adjustment (FCA) for the month of May 2022. And hinted to approve Rs7.90 per unit hike under FCA of May 2022. However, NEPRA in a statement made it loud and clear that the authority (NEPRA) will issue its detailed judgement on the FCA of May for DISCOs after scrutiny of necessary data and this expected hike if NEPRA grants approval in this regard will not be applicable on lifeline consumers and the consumers of K-Electric.

According to sources, if NEPRA approves the proposed hike then power consumers of all power distribution companies (DISCOs) except K-Electric (KE) will bear more than Rs112 billion in next month’s electricity bills.

As per the definition of lifeline consumers by National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), lifeline consumer means those residential consumers having single phase electric connection with a sanctioned load up to 1 kilowatt (KW) and the lifeline consumers to include residential Non-Time of Use (Non-ToU) consumers having maximum of last twelve months and current month’s consumption is equal or lesser than 100 units.

NEPRA’s hearing was held under the chairman NEPRA Tauseef H. Farooqi wherein NEPRA members Engineer Rafique Ahmed Shaikh and Engineer Maqsood Anwar Khan were in attendance.  

Speaking on the occasion, NEPRA officials said that oil prices have gone up in the international oil market and if expansive fuels were used for power generation purposes then electricity prices witnessed more increase.

Present on the occasion, the CPPA officials said that fuel price has increased substantially in the global oil market as coal price had increased significantly which were very available at very low price in the market before the Russia-Ukraine war.

According to CPPA officials, Cargoes of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) were available at $42 per Million British Thermal Unit (MMBTU) for delivery by the end of July. However, it was not possible to purchase expansive LNG as it was unaffordable while keeping in view the prevailing situation of the country. Even a cargo of long-term agreement is cancelled due to skyrocketing prices of LNG in the global market.

NEPRA chairman said that if electricity is produced then it will be expensive and if it is not generated then there will be electricity load shedding in the country.  He said that NEPRA was opposed when it asked to produce electricity from those power plants which can produce the electricity at Rs6-7 per unit. For the sake of God, avoid installation of power plants that run on imported fuels, said NEPRA chairman.  

Earlier, CPPA, on behalf of power distribution companies (DISCOs), has submitted an application with NEPRA and sought hike in power tariff by Rs7.96 per unit under FCA of May, 2022.

The CPPA in its plea informed that 22.89 per cent of the electricity has been generated with Re-gasified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG) at a cost of Rs27.92 per kilowatt hour (kWh), while 13.77 percent of electricity has been produced with coal at a cost of Rs18.01 per kWh, and 12.90 per cent of electricity has been generated with nuclear at a cost of Rs1.05 per unit in the month of May 2022. Similarly, 8.80 percent of the power has been produced with furnace oil at a cost of Rs33.67 paisa per unit, while 9.99 percent of electricity has been generated with the gas at a cost of Rs10.12 per unit, 0.37 percent of electricity with imported Iran at a cost of Rs18.95 per unit, 0.11 percent of the electricity has been generated with mixed fuel at cost of Rs4.68 per unit and 0.53 percent of the electricity has been produced with bagasse at a cost of Rs5.98 per unit. Furthermore, 24.5 percent of electricity out of the total power generated in May 2022 has been generated with hydel source, 5.32 percent of electricity with wind and 0.61 percent with solar source in the month of May 2022.

It is also learnt from CPP plea that total 14,656.89 Gigawatt hour of electricity was produced while net delivered to DISCOs was 14,264.95 GWh in the month of May 2022.

It is pertinent to mention here that already burdened masses would find a severe blow if the NEPRA approves the proposed hike in the power tariff which in result would add salt to their injuries in the form of additional burden of billions of rupees through electricity bills.

Pursuant to Section 31 (7) of the NEPRA Act (XL of 1997) and the mechanism for monthly fuel price adjustment prescribed by the Authority (NEPRA) in the tariff determination of Ex-WAPDA Distribution Companies (DISCOs), the Authority may on monthly basis make adjustments in the approved tariff on account of any variations in the fuel charges and policy guidelines as the federal government may issue and notify the tariff so adjusted in the official gazette.  

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