NEPRA to hold hearing on power tariff determination


To annoyance of the Ministry of Water and Power (MWP), the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) will hold a public hearing today (Wednesday) on reservations of the ministry over the massive increase in power tariff by inclusion of monthly fuel price adjustment.
Sources said that the reservation expressed by the MWP through an official letter was converted into an appeal against the power tariff hike by NEPRA. They said that the ministry wanted the issue’s resolution, as the government was not in a position to pass on the massive increase determined by the regulator. A serious row emerged between the ministry and NEPRA over inclusion of the monthly fuel price in the power tariff, which NEPRA inbuilt in the new tariff by increasing the bench mark furnace oil price from Rs 29,000 to 65,000 per tonne. The ministry said that the regulator was not empowered to change the bench mark fuel price on its own, as fluctuation in fuel prices occurred and in case it fell, the impact could not be passed on to consumers.
The regulator had managed to inbuilt the fuel price in the power tariff, as the government recently gave its powers to directly pass on the fuel price adjustment impact to consumers. The MWP wanted NEPRA to maintain the previous system of determining an annual tariff for DISCOs based upon their operating costs and adjusting the fuel price on a monthly basis. The ministry had approached the government to address the issue but the issue remained unresolved, sources said, adding that NEPRA further increased the pressure by converting the official correspondence into an appeal.
NEPRA had determined the tariff for Gujranwala, Islamabad and Peshawar region utility companies until now. The recently determined power tariff for Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) had been increased by Rs 1 to 4.35 per unit and for Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO) by Rs 1 to 6.50 per unit for different slabs. NEPRA had been under fire from official quarters, as its tariff determination mechanism was attributed as the real cause for load shedding and the resultant circular debt.