LHC summons officials over load shedding

LHC summons officials over load shedding

LAHORE: Lahore High Court Chief Justice Umar Atta Bandial on Wednesday while hearing an application against unscheduled load shedding of gas and electricity summoned the joint secretary of water and power and the managing director of PEPCO.
The chief justice directed both the officials to appear on January 20.
This application was moved in an already pending petition against load shedding filed by Judicial Activism Panel Chairman Muhammad Azhar Siddique.
The applicant submitted that electricity was once again being shutdown for 10 to 12 a day and the public had to face this problem even this winter season and protest against load shedding across the province continued. 
He submitted that the public was under heavy burden and psychological pressure due to non-availability of electricity for long hours.
He said that per unit electricity tariff was increasing very rapidly without any justification and due cause, and the whole burden was shifted on the public, who had no option but to pay the electricity bills. He submitted that different letters to NEPRA had been written wherein it had been brought into the notice of the authorities that distribution companises (DISCOs) were overcharging consumers.
He said that earlier the matter of overcharging by LESCO from KEMC had already been placed on record. 
Now, with evidence, the applicant is placing on record the case of one of the consumers who was overcharged, in order to establish that the distribution companies were playing fraud with the consumers who had been paying electricity bills in time.
He said that certain letters had also been written to the commissioner of the Indus Water for constructions of dams, so that maximum electricity may be produced and be supplied to public. 
It has further been requested in the letter addressed to the commissioner that what action had been taken by the government against the construction of Kishanganga Dam by the Indian government. 
He said that NEPRA had finalised the annual tariff determination for the year 2013-2014, which included certain irrelevant and other charges, and prima facie, no attempt had been made to verify the purchase data and as such the annual determination was finalised in a hasty manner.
He said that from the record, it was very much clear that the government was acting on the directions of the IMF to increase the electricity tariff. He said that of course there were certain conditions which the state has to fulfil, but nobody was looking at the other end – to reduce the production and other costs instead of increasing electricity tariff. 
He said that due to the government’s failure to construct dams and water reservoir, the public at large was facing serious consequences. Similarly, the line losses and administrative losses had been massive, which caused adverse effect on the public at large, he said. 
He said that the Supreme Court of Pakistan on December 10, 2013 had decided the matter regarding unprecedented load shedding, which also covers other issues. He requested that the apex court’s verdict should be implemented.
He also requested that the federal government should be directed to place before this court the priority of Sui gas being supplied to the domestic and commercial consumers and as well as to the power sector, as in these days the domestic consumers were being badly affected due to non-availability of gas and electricity. 

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