ICCI slams power tariff hike by NEPRA

  • September 26, 2017
The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry has slammed the 48 paisa per unit hike in the average electricity tariff by National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) for ex-WAPDA distribution companies (Discos) for the year 2015-16 and termed it an unwise decision as it would further enhance the cost of doing business and hurt Pakistan’s exports.
 
Khalid Iqbal Malik, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that the power tariffs in Pakistan for industrial and commercial consumers were already highest in the region due to which our exports have become uncompetitive in the international market. He said in this scenario, allowing Discos to recover Rs.24.34 billion from power consumers on account of the write-off of unrecovered amounts from chronic defaulters was totally unjustified. 
 
He said that NEPRA has resorted to easy approach of passing on the burden of defaulters to the general consumers which was an illogical decision. He said NEPRA was making regular bill-payers to pay for those who have used the electricity, but were not paying for it.  He said this practice would encourage further defaults and would create disappointment in regular bill payers. He said the trend of write-offs would also reinforce the rampant inefficiencies within the system and put an upfront burden on consumers.
 
Khalid Iqbal Malik said that the business community had been demanding of the government since long to focus on bringing down high energy cost as Pakistan was losing export markets to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam and other regional countries due to high power tariffs. But it was unfortunate that instead of bringing down electricity price, government was taking measures to further enhance it that would badly affect business and industrial activities causing further fall in country’s exports.
 
Khalid Malik, Senior Vice President, ICCI said that line losses and defaults in Islamabad Electric Supply Company were minimum as compared to other Discos and it was unjustified to make the consumers of IESCO to pay for the defaulters of other areas. He called upon the NEPRA to immediately withdraw 48 paisa increase in power tariff and urged that government should focus on cheap energy sources for producing affordable electricity that would help in promoting businesses & industrialization, creating new jobs and improving country’s exports.