NEPRA receives govt’s request to reduce domestic power tariff hike by 50%
By Khalid Mustafa
ISLAMABAD: The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has received a formal request from the government of Pakistan, seeking a 50 percent reduction in the power tariffs for domestic consumers who consume over 50 units a month.
An official source told Daily Times on condition of anonymity that NEPRA had received a sealed envelop containing the request from the Ministry of Water and Power last Friday. He said the power regulatory authority had started reviewing the request, which sought around a 20-paisa reduction in the 47 paisas per unit hike in the power tariffs for domestic consumers.
The source expressed his inability to divulge the details of the government’s request, saying it was being kept secret. However, another official of the power regulatory authority said that NEPRA and the Ministry of Finance were coordinating how much the power tariffs should be slashed for domestic consumers. The source said that President Musharraf had directed the Water And Power Development Authority to halt the implementation of NEPRA’s decision. He said the NEPRA had earlier refused to accept the government’s directives, and had asked that the government ‘request’ that NEPRA make the change, rather than ‘order’ it to do so. He said that after the government changed the word ‘order’ to ‘request’, NEPRA received the envelope.
The source said NEPRA would now work on the necessary calculations to cut the 47-paisa increase in power tariffs for domestic consumers by around 20 paisas, adding that the government only wanted a reduction in the power tariffs for domestic consumers. Asked if NEPRA would decrease the power tariffs for agriculture, which were raised by 50 paisa per unit for tube wells in the NWFP and Balochistan, and 54 paisas for tube wells in Punjab and Sindh, the source said 90 percent of tube wells were in Punjab and the Punjab government was likely to extend 50 percent subsidies to farmers, as it had the previous year.