National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) Monday reserved its decision after hearing the government's plea to increase the price of electricity for Karachi residents.
According to reports, NEPRA officials concluded a contentious hearing on the government's request to increase electricity prices in Karachi, raising concerns among industrial and domestic consumers alike.
NEPRA officials confirmed that adjustments have been received from Distribution Companies (DISCOS) users, resulting in a substantial tariff increase of over Rs 8. After the adjustment, the unit rate for electricity will surge from Rs 37 to Rs 47 for industries, excluding taxes.
NEPRA member, Mohtar Rana questioned the ability of industries to operate effectively under the new tariff structure. He said that the rate demanded by the government has a bad impact on the struggling industrial sector.
Contrary to the government's estimate of a Rs 2,000 bill for 200 units of electricity, NEPRA officials expressed their astonishment at the figure.
NEPRA member, Rafiq Shaikh, challenged the claim by asking how many individuals had an electricity bill below Rs 2,000 in August.
K-Electric officials disclosed that approximately 1.3 lakh users in Karachi fell within the protected category. NEPRA member Maqsood Anwar questioned the rationale behind nationwide protests given this information.
It was revealed in the hearing that 40% of electricity consumers in the country consumed less than 200 units of electricity. NEPRA member Rafiq Shaikh pointed out that the data clearly suggests that power companies may have their own role to play in the situation.
Chairman of NEPRA, Waseem Mukhtar said that NEPRA'S role is to make decisions on the government's request in accordance with regulations.
Out of 28 lakh domestic consumers, officials reported that the bills for 12 lakhs had already been below Rs 3,000. Moreover, in August, 60% of commercial customers had bills below Rs 6,000, they added.
The Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry expressed its rejection of the proposed tariff hike, reflecting the mounting discontent among industrial and domestic consumers. Complaints against the price hike flooded the hearing at NEPRA, with consumers vehemently demanding its rejection.
Meanwhile, Jamaat-e-Islami leader Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman, who has been vocally opposing the electricity price increase, alleged that some stakeholders, including K-Electric, had failed to honor investment agreements and had even engaged in electricity theft.