Having denied electricity consumers a Rs1.24 per unit relief over the past four months, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) came out on Thursday with another decision that would make people pay even more; it allowed the tariff to be increased by Re1 per unit for all consumers of Wapda`s distribution companies. Nepra reached the decision after a monthly public hearing on a petition filed by Central Power Purchase Authority (CPPA) on behalf of the distribution companies. The new tariff will be applicable to bills for April. Consumers using less than 50 units per month and KESC are exempt from the increase. The CPPA had sought an increase of Rs1.049 per unit on account of monthly fuel price adjustment over the reference fuel charges of Rs6.117 per unit mainly because of worsening energy mix and higher fuel oil prices. However, Nepra calculated the tariff increase at Re1 per unit. The regulator was informed that during March, hydropower generation contributed about 27 per cent of the total electricity supply while 44 per cent generation came from furnace oil and 24 per cent from gas. Another 3.3 per cent power was generated by nuclear plants. The average generation cost of hydropower stood at about 19 paisa per unit, compared with Rs13.2 per unit from furnace oil, Rs3.5 per unit from gas-based plants and about Rs1.2 per unit from nuclear power. Coal-based generation, which contributes 0.22 per cent of total power production, cost Rs3 per unit while diesel-based generation cost Rs15.5 per unit. As such the average generation cost, including capacity payments, stood at Rs11.50 per unit. An official said that the government had stopped passing on to consumers the benefit of lower fuel cost of power generation over the last four months by withholding notifications on the reduced tariff determined by Nepra. The total benefit denied to consumers stood at Rs1.24 per unit. He said that Nepra had determined a reduction of Rs1.08 paisa per unit in November, followed by 58 paisa per unit cut in December, 2010. In January, Nepra allowed 33 paisa per unit increase, followed by 0.09 paisa per unit increase in February. Thus the net tariff reduction in these four months stood at Rs1.24 per unit. But it was not passed on to consumers. A few days ago, the ministry of water and power sent tariff notifications for the last four months for publication in the Gazette of Pakistan, which would become effective with the date of publication.
By: Dawn News