Fuel adjustment surcharge: LHC extends stay on NEPRA order till Dec 13

Published: November 29, 2011

The petitioner prayed to the court to declare provision S.31(4), added in NEPRA Act 1997, as unconstitutional.

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court has extended till December 13 an order stopping power companies from adding a retrospective fuel adjustment surcharge to electricity bills for industrial consumers.

Thirty-seven companies have filed petitions asking the court to strike down a National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) notification under which consumers received bills for October in which the surcharge for four months (June to October) had been added.

A deputy attorney general appeared before the court on Tuesday and sought more time to get a reply to the petitions from the federal government, after which the court adjourned the hearing. It had already restrained Nepra from collecting the surcharge fees or disconnecting the consumers who do not pay.

The petitioners submitted that Nepra and the Lahore Electric Supply Company had unlawfully added a fuel adjustment surcharge for a “now past and closed transaction” between consumers and power distribution companies.

They said the Nepra notification added a section (S.31(4)) to the Regulation, Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Power Act 1997 (Nepra Act) for the imposition of taxes and surcharges for past months retrospectively, which was not allowed by the law. They asked the court to set aside the Nepra notification dated August 21, 2011, and strike down the new section of the Nepra Act.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 30th, 2011.

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