Risky higher trend of household electricity tariff | By Dr Habib Gul


Risky higher trend of household electricity tariff

PAKISTANIS are facing multiple household economic problems, among which one of the most concerning are the tariff of electricity. Major cause of the rising trend of tariff is IPPS and thermal stations being operated on costly imported oil/LNG. According to an authentic estimate, Pakistan has around 80,000 MW cheap and pollution free hydroelectricity and hundred thousands of other renewable environment friendly resources of energy potential but facing acute shortage of around 7,000 MW during peak hours. The Governments attention was focused on thermal plants, generating polluted costly energy, the major reason of which was disclosed as initial installation cost.

The number of electricity consumers increased a hundred times after the establishment of Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) but the tariff was raised several times. The tariff for unit up to 50 consumption level was Ps. (paisas) 51 on 01/09/1989 and above 600 units cost Rs 1.24. It was raised to Ps. 54 and Rs 1.47 with minimum charges from Rs.9/- to Rs 11. On 10/08/1991, fuel adjustment surcharge and additional surcharge were introduced and the electricity tariffs were raised from Ps. 22 from Ps.54 to Ps. 76 for lower limit and Ps. 100 from Ps 147 to 247 for upper limit besides alteration in consumption limits from 600 to 1000.

On 07 November 1994 Fuel Adjustment Surcharge (FAS) of Ps. 7/kwh and additional surcharge of Ps 19/kwh for units consumed up to 54 was introduced with keeping the minimum monthly charge at previous level of Rs 11/. For upper level consumption, the tariffs were increased to Rs 1.47 with FAS Ps 75/kwh and additional surcharge Ps 96/kwh ie per unit electricity consumption was enhanced to Rs 3.10.

Energy cost was not increased from 08/1995 to 11/1996 but the Federal Government enhanced the additional surcharge for three times. The additional surcharge was increased from Ps. 19/kwh to Ps. 37/kwh for consumption up to 50 units and Ps 96/kwh to Rs.2.67/kwh for upper limit. The lower limit consumption tariff was also100% increased. After levying this additional surcharge and doubling the surcharge, the tariffs hike tendency fastened with increasing household grievances.

In March, while the season was very pleasant and room cooling by artificial system was not required, a tariff bill of 267 units household was received for Rs, 7,486. The original cost of electricity consumption was Rs. 5,911.38 while the remaining cost was from Federal Government taxes. It is highly concerning that NEPRA asked the Federal Government for Rs. 1.17 per unit tariff hike in the wake of fuel cost adjustment for March, 2023. It is reminded that in April, 2023 K-Electric requested NEPRA for significant increase in tariff, following increase in prices of fuel used for power generation in March.

The electricity consumption level was altered several times, meter rent increased and fee for domestic connection was increased several times imitating a free fall. Different slabs for charging power cost is a head ache. The journey of increasing tariffs under different heads are in progress with the dawn of every new week. The journey of the fast and uncontrolled running electricity bills taxes are unbearable for the domestic consumers. It will lead to an uproar, unrest or even a serious threat to national integrity.

—The writer is former Deputy Director General, Pakistan Council of Renewable Energy Technology, GoP.

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