Already distressed consumers shocked by continuous rise in electricity bills

: Photo By News Lens Pakistan / Matiullah Achakzai
A view of the Nasty cables of the electric Nasty Cables :Photo by Matiullah Achakzai Copyright © News Lens Pakistan

Lahore: Power consumers suffer yet another electric shock as the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) report reveals that the government incurred extra financial burden upon the already oppressed taxpayers, on account of surcharge and additional surcharge, thus tearing apart another claim of the government’s good governance policies.

The report also stated that the TOU (Time-of-Use) meters of 70% of consumers were outdated and out timed, due to which some consumers were billed according to the off-peak rates and some with peak rates. Lines and poles were found to be in substandard conditions, which is one of the reasons for the increased number of interruptions, resulting in non-achievement of the reliability standards.

NEPRA and the Water and Power Ministry have locked horns over the uninterrupted load shedding, as well as the increased billing and overcharging.

The blame game between the two sides began when NEPRA released its Performance Standards (Distribution) Rules (PSDR)-2005 report for 2014-15 .The report disclosed the parameters of all the Distributions Companies (DISCOs), showing that they were not running at their full capacities, which resulted in unscheduled load shedding.

According to the NEPRA report, all DISCOs were directed to submit their annual performance report to NEPRA before the 31st of August. However, the companies did not comply.

It was observed that the DISCOs and K-Electric were not giving due importance to the Performance Standards (Distribution) Rules 5. Most of the DISCOs conveyed problems by not achieving the reliability parameters.

Speaking to News Lens Pakistan, Deputy Secretary at the Water & Power Ministry Zaryab Khan noted that the report was incomplete and a comprehensive report had yet to be sent to the Authority. “I have failed to understand the haste behind the release of this incomplete report,” he said.

“The report shows the performance of just 7 DISCOs, while there are 10 distribution companies in the country,” the deputy secretary said, adding that only 7 DOSCOs were visited by the teams of NEPRA excluding Islamabad Electric Supply Corporation (IESCO), Faisalabad (FESCO) and Tribal (TESCO).

Regarding the TOU meters, Khan said they represented only 3.7 percent of the total meters, as only IESCO and FESCO consumers had them.

Talking to News Lens Pakistan, K-Electric spokesperson Usama Qureshi also rejected the NEPRA report, claiming that K-Electric has always been diligent about the submission of its Performance Reports.

While discussing the power interruptions owing to the deteriorating condition of the poles, the spokesperson said that K-Electric covered an area of 6500-square km and there was a zero tolerance policy regarding negligence when it comes to the maintenance of these poles. “NEPRA has not provided any samples of the survey conducted in Karachi,” he said, contending the claim that the Utility generated 67.5% of its total generating power.

The spokesperson said that K-Electric had generated power in accordance with the available capacity. “We plan to submit our response to the NEPRA report in a couple of weeks,” he noted.

He also denied NEPRA’s claims of overcharging the consumers.

According to the NEPRA report, a two-member team of engineers was also sent to visit DISCOs to determine the designated parameters. Major observations were made during the visits. The connected/running load of most of the consumers under domestic, commercial and industrial B-2 consumers was more than their sanctioned load.

While the two monoliths are busy squabbling over issues of bad governance, the consumers are the ones suffering the brunt of it in the form huge financial losses due to excessive billing, and the absence of a prudent system in place.


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