By Ahmad Ahmadani
- Officials say ministry looking for person who provided false details to premier regarding cut in power price
Although the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has so far only raised the power tariff, yet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made a tall claim of reducing power price for the domestic sector in his recent public address, Pakistan Today has learnt.
The premier, while addressing a public gathering at the Convention Centre on October 18 (Tuesday), informed the public very loudly that his government had brought power tariff to Rs 10 per unit through a dint of hard work, claiming that the power price had been fixed at Rs18/unit in 2013 when he assumed the charge of his office.
“Reduction in the power tariff is a bonus for the masses from the PML-N government,” Sharif had said.
However, official notifications on power tariff issued by the Ministry of Water and Power have exposed the tall claim made by Prime Minister Sharif.
According to the official notification, the power tariff for domestic consumers had been set at Rs 14/unit in 2013 at the time when the PML-N formed its government. Even in October 2013, the PML-N government had raised power price by Rs 4/unit, taking the tariff for domestic power consumers to Rs 18/unit for the first time.
Interestingly, the government also raised power price for domestic consumers who use 201 to 300 units in a month. The tariff for such consumers had been set at Rs 8.11/unit, but, the government increased it by Rs 4.79/unit, fixing it at Rs 12.9/unit.
Furthermore, the incumbent regime jacked up the power price to 69 per cent indirectly and made an end to the slab benefit for the domestic consumer which remained intact during previous regimes.
It may be noted here that the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) had approved a cut of Rs 3/unit in power tariff during 2015, but on June 10, 2015, the government imposed tariff rationalisation surcharge and deprived the consumers of the said relief.
Similarly in 2016, the power sector regulator (NEPRA) approved Rs 2.50/unit decrease in power price, but the government approached the honourable Islamabad High Court (IHC) against NEPRA’s decision and obtained a stay order against the approved relief for domestic consumers.
According to sources in the power sector, the power price has in reality met with a record hike during the on-going PML-N tenure. They said the power price could not witness a single paisa decrease during the rule of the incumbent PML-N government starting from October 2013.
When contacted, officials in the Power Ministry were found ill-informed about the tall claims of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif regarding the reduction in power prices. The officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity were of the view that the Power Ministry was in search of the person who had provided false details to the premier regarding the cut in power price.