NEPRA made life further difficult for poverty-hit people of the country

Making life further difficult for poverty-hit people of the country, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) has increased power tariff by Rs 3.04 per unit, ostensibly under Discos’ fuel adjustments formula sought by the Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA).
Prior to the approval, the increase plea was heard at Nepra under its chairman Khalid Saeed on Friday after which all the distribution companies allowed the historic increase. However, the recent hike will be applicable to all the electricity consumers except the lifeline consumers.
The Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA) in its plea has pleaded that totally 9,249 giga watt/hour (GWh) of electricity was sold to Discos during the month of August while NEPRA had earlier set Rs 3.60 per unit as a reference cost of fuel for the month of August, which in fact remained at Rs 6.66 per unit in the country. Further, reliance on power generation with furnace oil remained high as wind power generation found very low which gave a boost to average cost of fuel resultantly rates of electricity mounted during a span of one month period of time.
During the proceeding, it was learnt that reference generation of power through furnace oil was set at 24.6 per cent with comparison to 35.2 per cent production in the month of August while the wind power generation remained at 38.4 per cent with comparison to reference production 47.6 per cent and generation of electricity through gas remained at 22.1 per cent with comparison to the 24.6 per cent set reference generation of power.
It is to note here that earlier Nepra set Rs 45,000 MT a reference rate of power production through furnace oil which remained otherwise as cost of furnace oil generation was found at Rs 67,000 MT. Similarly, cost of electricity generation sold to Power Distributing Companies (Discos) remained at Rs 61.61 billion during August
Additionally, during this span of time, electricity generation through hydel was 3,657 GWh, Coal 12.70 GWh, high-speed diesel (HSD) 142.88 GWh, furnace Oil 3,352 GWh, gas 2,101 GWh, nuclear 184.28 GWh, and wind power 43 GW. Further, 262 GWh transmission losses of the Discos were surfaced during this specified span of time.
It is relevant to mention that on one hand the power ministry in its revised summary sent to Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has sought four per cent raise in electricity tariff, while on the other hand Nepra has raised the electricity rates, considering the request of CPPA, thus adding to the woes and worries of overburdened masses.
Economic pundits have argued that rates of electricity are increasing with each passing day. So this raise will multiply prices of commodities in general, since electricity is a prerequisite in the manufacturing of goods. The effect of the price hike will severely cast impact on the poor. This hike will have a negative impact on employment opportunities, affecting both employers and employees. They were of the view that the fuel hikes have already hit businesses. The increase of electricity tariff will push up inflation.
In another development, Speaker National Assembly, Dr Fehmida Mirza, has constituted a 17-member Special Committee to look into the reasons leading to the current power crisis in the country and propose steps to alleviate the power shortage.
After receiving nomination from all the parliamentary parties in the National Assembly, the Speaker issued notification of the committee.
The Special Committee has been constituted in pursuance of motion under Rule 244 (B) of the rules of Procedure and conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007 adopted by the House on Oct. 10, 2011.
It was further decided by the parliamentarians that the committee would come up with the report on the recent power crisis and would also come up with the remedial measures, both short-term and long-term, to get rid of the power crisis by November 24 when the National Assembly would meet again after its scheduled prorogation on 18th of this month.
The committee comprises MNAs Rana Muhammad Farooq Saeed Khan (PPPP), Nawab Muhammad Yousaf Talpur (PPPP), Khurrum Jehangir Wattoo (PPPP), Dr. Ayatullah Durrani (PPPP), Shahid Khan Abbasi (PML-N), Rana Tanvir Hussain (PML-N), Muhammad Baligh-ur-Rehman (PML-N), Rana Asif Tauseef (PML-Q), Sheikh Waqas Akram (PML-Q), Dr Muhammad Farooq Sattar (MQM), Bushra Gohar (ANP), Hameed Ullah Jan Afridi (FATA), Engineer Usman Khan Tarakai (IND), Muhammad Jadam Mangrio (PML-F), Mufti Ajmal Khan (JUI-F), Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao (PPP-S) and Saima Akthar Bharwana (Independent).
Agencies add: On the other hand, in a daring revelation, Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) Managing Director Rasool Khan Mehsud has said that political meddling is the main reason for loadshedding. Talking to a private TV channel, Rasool Khan said that political appointments made during successive regimes are at the heart of the leadshedding problem because these appointees are incompetent and unwilling to work.
Loadshedding is hanging like a sword over the masses besides other problems the country is facing now, the MD said, adding that the country can‘t get rid of power outages unless Pepco is purged of incompetent employees and undue political interference is put to an end.
The head of country’s main power supply company averred that had the successive governments let the honest officials do their work uninterrupted, they could have averted Rs300 billion circular debt of the department and the situation would have been much different. He said that out of the Rs300 billion, the federal and provincial governments and other departments owe Rs155 billion, while Sindh and KESC are the biggest defaulters of Pepco.
Rasool Khan said that two weekly holidays and other such measures would save 800MW. Commenting on the Punjab government’s resentment with the federal government over the long hours of outages, he said that Punjab government has the right to disagree, but Pepco is bound to follow the federal government’s loadshedding schedule.

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