Flat power rate

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THE government on Friday announced flat rate of Rs 11.97
per unit of electricity for ‘additional consumption’ by consumers, with the stated objective of proper utilization of power generation, facilitating the general public in cold weather and giving a boost to industrial sector. As explained by Power Minister Omer Ayub, meter reading would be tallied with the last year data of same month, following which extra units’ usage would be charged as per the flat rate for four months of winter i.e. November to February.
The introduction of flat rate for winter months was dubbed as a major relief for consumers but finally it turned out to be a ploy for consumers to consume more during these months so that the Government earns more revenue during low consumption period. The industry can surely benefit by introducing additional shifts in winter but had there been the intention to provide relief to consumers then the rate should have been applied to all units consumed instead of just on additional units consumed as compared to same month last year. This is yet another mechanism officially used to pick pocket consumers who are already fleeced by distribution companies through different tactics like delayed or fake readings. It is wrong to lay hands on pockets of the consumers when they are already paying the highest tariff in the region. Both this and the previous government made repeated claims to move towards reduction of cost of generation so that electricity could be provided to the people on cheaper rates. This objective can be achieved only if we focus on hydel power generation, the potential of which is tremendous and also increase the share of nuclear and solar/hydel power in the overall energy-mix. In this backdrop, the announcement of the Minister about establishment of 11 wind power plants of 500 MW, which would cost Rs 6.30 per unit and planned generation of around 8,000 MW power through renewable energy resources by 2025 is a welcome move.