PTI to start countrywide protests against increase in power tariffs

Published: March 21, 2012

Imran Khan makes announcement during speech at rally in Muzaffargarh. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

MUZAFFARGARH: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) will start countrywide protests on March 22 against the increase in power tariffs, party chairman Imran Khan said on Wednesday.

Imran made this announcement during his speech at a rally in Muzaffargarh.

The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) approved 21% increase in power tariffs on March 20, just a month after it increased electricity rates by 39%.

The increase came after Nepra approved four petitions filed by the state-owned Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA), a subsidiary of the state-owned National Transmission and Dispatch Company. The CPPA claimed that its fuel costs for the month of October 2011 through January 2012 were far higher than those it was allowed to bill and so it must increase the tariffs in order to recover the costs it has already paid to power generation companies.

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Reader Comments (38)

  • Mar 21, 2012 - 6:44PM

    This Government wants to wipe out the middle class from the surface

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  • Yasser
    Mar 21, 2012 - 6:48PM

    count me in

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  • Junaid Atique
    Mar 21, 2012 - 6:49PM

    IK Critic: HE will get money from Establishment to carry on this protest :P

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  • Mar 21, 2012 - 6:50PM

    Even i m not a supporter of PTI but Mr khan the nation will stand behind you if you take up this issue and protest on the roads, and I will be there with you too

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  • Mar 21, 2012 - 7:00PM

    The COMMON MAN has to pay for the govt’s corruption (like RPPs), line losses, inefficient transmission & distribution and off course Kundas of the privileged.
    Come on Pakistanis, this is your chance. Stand up for yourselves and your coming generations. Join hands with Imran Khan or else “Be Slaves forever”.

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  • Meekal Ahmed
    Mar 21, 2012 - 7:01PM

    Brent today was $126/BBL. I am sure that is not our import price but the world over there is growing concern that high oil prices could tip the global economy into recession, or worse.

    Being an oil importing country, Pakistan is hit badly through the external terms of trade and higher headline inflation. Sure, the whole sector needs to be made more efficient and less incompetent and corrupt. To begin with it would be helpful if people and the governments, federal and provincial, would pay their bills.

    Taxes on oil cannot be reduced because there is no other revenue to take it’s place. The fiscal deficit would widen even further causing more borrowing, more debt and more inflation.

    IK by taking this route is sending a bad signal. He is playing politics with the thought that Pakistan can control the high cost of oil in global markets. I presume his argument would be that when he comes into power we will magically de-link ourselves from the world oil market. That is a dangerous and stupid game to play.

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  • Nadir
    Mar 21, 2012 - 7:02PM

    Waa jee…on the one hand IK argues that people should be honest, but our electricity prices do not reflect the cost of production and people refuse to pay their bills, oil prices are rising, and now he wants to protest? What good will this do? Make the defecit worse as the government has to subsidise the rich to consume electricity. Then he will say that look how big the deficit is! What a waste of time!

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  • WB
    Mar 21, 2012 - 7:22PM

    @Meekal Ahmed: Govt can and should provide oil subsidy; I guess you are one of the few who can afford to pay such a high tariff, so you are welcome to pay; while the rest of us will be with IK on the roads to protest

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  • Mar 21, 2012 - 7:24PM

    Just the way they carried out protests against drone attacks ? What happened to those protests, any follow ups ?

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  • Mar 21, 2012 - 7:25PM

    @Meekal Ahmed:
    LOL @ Justification.
    Oil prices went to a record high of nearly $140 in 2008 and the prices in Pakistan were around Rs. 50. After that the international oil prices came down to as low as $45 but our People’s govt didn’t reduce the prices and instead imposed PDL and other taxes to deny the benefit of decrease in international oil prices. Today, international oil prices may be $126 but they are still lower than the $140 extreme of 2008.
    Ironically the prices in Pakistan have soured from around Rs. 50 (for $140) to nearly Rs. 110 (for $126). Is there any justification or explanation for this other than BAD GOVERNANCE / CORRUPTION?

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  • Falcon
    Mar 21, 2012 - 7:26PM

    I am a strong PTI supporter but I think this is not a wise move primarily because of two reasons; one that recent surge in prices is due to sudden worldwide increase in energy prices (thanks to Middle East conflicts) and secondly, it sets an expectation that PTI will continue to maintain the current level of subsidies (which are already a drain on the national GDP) once in power and it will be able to hedge against commodity price movements in global markets. The only argument that can be made is that this should put the pressure on Govt. to fix the issues that are fixable, may be go for a stronger push for IP pipeline, and suggest an alternative of step-function increase in prices rather than passing all the burden to the consumer right away.

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  • Mar 21, 2012 - 7:26PM

    @Nadir:
    thats the responsibility of you me and the public, someone can’t bring change in you forcefully it cant be done by protests u must have to change urself, dont take me as a PTI supporter but its right what it is

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  • Falcon
    Mar 21, 2012 - 7:30PM

    On a second thought, there is a good probability he is going to use this as a pressure building measure for the next phase of his strategy, which is to push for taxation reforms so that under-taxed segments of the society (which happen to be > 70% of population) can be brought under tax net so that in the future if there is global surge in prices, the blow will be softer on the middle class and under-privileged segments of the society because of higher tax revenue buffer.

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  • smj
    Mar 21, 2012 - 7:38PM

    Imran Khan should come up with real solutions rather having hollow protests that shows no results. PTI can demand to cut off all the previliages and protocols of national, provisional and ministers. That will be easy to do and save millions of tax payer rupees. Use this money to subsidize power generation sector.

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  • Zavia
    Mar 21, 2012 - 7:51PM

    @Tehreek-e-Insaf FATA
    The Government of Musharraf in 2008 was decided to give subside on $140, keeping in mind the Elections a head. That initiated a “Circular Debt” issue, which now accumulated to more than 500 Billion rupees budget deficit in power sector alone. Which means we have the capacity to generate the required electricity, but we dot have money to buy furnace oil. It was Bad Governance.

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  • wahab khan afridi
    Mar 21, 2012 - 7:53PM

    i wish i was in pak i wud definately be on the ground ,, only poors are suffering wt abt elite vips, they dnt giv a damn and zardari and his corrupt team only care abt looting money dts all . this mess is further created by zardari, why did he not work on it?

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  • Khan
    Mar 21, 2012 - 8:13PM

    @Tehreek-e-Insaf FATA:
    Oil prices are comparably very low in Pakistan … We buy oil from other countries and thus we can’t have it cheaper than what we pay for it plus import & storage costs and add to that profit costs for the petrol stations plus some tax …
    Current price of oil as of today is $120 per barrel .. that comes down to 0.75 cent per litre which is roughly Rs 68 – 70 per litre. now add to that some tax, storage, transport & labor plus profit for the gas stations and you get final price.

    Here in the UK we pay £1.40 per litre that is around 200 Rs. Its cheaper in the US as they have their own oil and are not fully dependent on the import.
    P.S PTI is becoming JI lately .. for everything they want protest instead of waiting for their turn or making some valid suggestions if they are interested for the welfare of the people and country.

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  • Murad
    Mar 21, 2012 - 8:39PM

    But the main protest should be stage in Islamabad. All the roads that lead towards the residence of MNA, federal ministers, PM and President should be blocked and no one should be allowed to enter their residences. The same should apply in Lahore.

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  • Blithe
    Mar 21, 2012 - 9:09PM

    We cannot afford to give more subsidies (full stop).
    Do we want this circular debt to get worse???
    IK is as confused as ever and playing politics to the
    lowest common denominator.

    The only thing is to build dams and improve energy mix.
    Of course, we need to get rid of the mismanagement.

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  • Blithe
    Mar 21, 2012 - 9:13PM

    @Murad:

    Why should the roads in Lahore be blocked???

    My dear, Lahore is the provincial Capitol of the
    Punjab Government. Pakistan is a federation.
    Punjab is a federating unit.

    Please get your basics right. Recommend

  • faizan
    Mar 21, 2012 - 9:48PM

    Those against this move plzzz SPEND one month with 7000 rupees only…..your doubts will b cleared till 10th of that month

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  • Awais Ch
    Mar 21, 2012 - 9:50PM

    Step forward Khan! we are with you…… i heard “price of petrol is also going to be increased by 8Rs/Litre…. where the hell will middle class go????

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  • JCD
    Mar 21, 2012 - 10:18PM

    @Blithe:
    I would encourage you to read Dr Kamal Munir’s articles about our energy crisis and the circular debt problem before making ridiculous comments about subsidies. Subsidies are NOT the root cause of our circular debt problem. The circular debt is a direct consequence of the Power Policy of 1994 and subsequent policies initiated by this government including RPPs. Why should I have to pay for criminal negligence on the part of the PPP government?

    Furthermore, those arguing against subsidies are essentially condemning about 70% of our population to live without electricity. Is this how a humane society works? The government needs to increase direct taxation on the wealthy while providing targeted subsidies to the poor. This is not rocket science….

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  • PTI troll 76
    Mar 21, 2012 - 10:54PM

    @Meekal Ahmed:

    Sitting in Washington DC it is easy to justify raising electricity prices in Pakistan. Power tariffs have been raised by 135% since 2008 (inclusive of fuel adjustment charges). Yet DISCOs line losses have increased, loadshedding has doubled, inflation has been at record levels last 4 years, and yet our government is busy making us more dependent on expensive imported oil (RPPs)

    U still think we should not protest and continue sitting at homes?????

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  • blithe
    Mar 21, 2012 - 11:24PM

    @Tehreek-e-Insaf FATA:
    mate, you and your beloved IK should start with FATA and KPK as we have the least recoveries there. If you don’t pay for your electricity bills, you should not get electricity.
    We also have a terrible recovery record in Sindh and Baluchistan,

    Recoveries from Punjab are the most but there is no differentiation in load shedding . If Faisalabad pays it’s bills , why should it get crippling load shedding?

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  • blithe
    Mar 21, 2012 - 11:35PM

    @JCD:
    Ridiculous! What is ridiculous in trying to maintain fiscal discipline???

    This PPP government has already increased the debts of the country from PKR 6 trillion to 10 trillion. These numbers are not a joke!
    the country’s total registered population was 175 million, which means each individual owes up to Rs57,057.

    We need to grow but with fiscal responsiblity. We don’t need PPP to give massive subsidies to and creat more of a mess going into the elections (like Mush did).

    I have zero confidence in IK to improve matters. In fact, I am convicned he will make us into Greece where there was no fiscal responsiblity and stupid reules and regulations…
    I was shocked to heat the IK wants to tax inwards remittance…

    PML N has the best team and experience to sort these issues.

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  • MarkH
    Mar 22, 2012 - 12:06AM

    An example of how he’s hard to take seriously. Yes, in spirit, being against it is all well and good. But in this case, it’s completely obvious, due to circumstances, that a protest will not put a scratch on the decision. Also, just because I don’t offer another way does not mean this is the way. Not so much because there isn’t one but because it involves a number of things I just don’t want to get into to save myself the headache due to no possible positive gain coming from it. I’d rather leave it to the people who get paid for it.
    His image is all talk, no real fix or plan for a fix and that is exactly what a protest regarding this reflects. Whether people have the right to protest or not, they’re still wasting their time as any politician or law maker can see nobody would be happy about it to begin with. Even if you want to say they’re corrupt and selfish, this wouldn’t be a tactic used to further that agenda and they’d stay away from it for the purpose of not alienating voters.

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Mar 22, 2012 - 1:37AM

    If Imran Khan and PTI will stand against the hike in power tariff, it will gain an unprecedented support from the masses which will lead PTI to come into power with majority of seats in the National and Provincial Assemblies.

    The caravan of PTI should not stop here. PTI should also stand against the increase of daily inflation.and should start country-wide march against the inflation.

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  • wajahat Laeeq
    Mar 22, 2012 - 2:48AM

    finally some one stood up for people.

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  • JCD
    Mar 22, 2012 - 4:02AM

    @blithe:
    I would like to address the points raised by you one by one.

    Firstly, I agree completely that maintaining fiscal responsibility is important. The difficult approach is to attempt to increase the tax to GDP ratio by increasing direct taxation on the rich with the revenue being spent on development, social spending and targeted subsidies for the poor. Unfortunately, the current government chose the easy way out: i.e letting the tax to GDP ratio stagnate, borrowing excessively and filling the gap by increasing taxation on the weakest strata of society which of course is too weak to protest. If the government is unable to tax the rich to pay for universal basic necessities, are the poor to pay the price?

    Secondly regarding your objections about subsidies, the point you are missing is that the common man did not ask the government to initiate the disastrous IPPs and RPPs which run on expensive imported furnace oil hence necessitating an increase in the price of electricity in the first place. If the government follows a policy of insanity, are we supposed to pay the price? I certainly don’t think so. If the government cannot afford to give subsidies, it should increase taxation on the rich, not remove the subsidy itself since it’s stupid, inane policies brought about the increase in price in the first place.

    Finally, regarding Mr Sharif’s team, let me just say that if the best the PML-N can come up with in Punjab are half-baked, disastrous schemes such as the Yellow Cab, Daanish schools, free laptops and Sasti Roti, I don’t have much hope for long term,sustainable policies vis a vis Pakistan.

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  • Khan
    Mar 22, 2012 - 4:34AM

    @blithe:

    PML N has the best team and experience
    to sort these issues.

    You have totally lost it there .. It really gives me a smile when I read something like that .. Yes they have best team as ever since they started politics, have climbed to 4rd number on Pakistan’s richest list .. Zardari being No 1.
    If they have such best team why were Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves only few hundred millions?
    P.S where is qarz utharo mulk sanwaron money?

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  • Cautious
    Mar 22, 2012 - 5:48AM

    The omnipotent one will create free power with the waving of his magic wand — right after he ends corruption, provides full employment, shows the American’s who’s boss, and makes the Taliban beg to join the PTI. Pakistan needs some change — too bad you can’t find a serious player to join the game.

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  • Mar 22, 2012 - 7:34AM

    @blithe:
    Don’t forget the FATA Tribesmen have a pact with Govt on Warsak Dam under which FATA is entitled to FREE Electricity from Warsak Dam (more than 180 MW). FATA’s maximum use of Electricity is nearly 50MW. We are far below our ceiling.

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  • siddique
    Mar 22, 2012 - 8:34AM

    this govt should be out now.

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  • Danish
    Mar 22, 2012 - 9:45AM

    What a stupid stance Im the Dim! If you want solve the power crisis play a role in cutting line losses, go after the culprits of power thefts instead. Protests against rising tarriffs is not the solution, you’ll only block traffic and waste more fuel of the general public. If you have the guts go after the big industrialists who are stealing power and not paying taxes.

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  • Mar 22, 2012 - 9:49AM

    @Zavia:
    It is good governance of having 8500 arab rupees of corruption in this ppp regime. The tax portion is twice as much I think in the price. If they reduce the tax portion it will help.

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  • Mar 22, 2012 - 10:06AM

    I am in so lets start soon

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  • kashif
    Mar 23, 2012 - 5:31PM

    Solar panels are getting cheaper. Even solar thermal is operational across the border in Gujrat, India.

    Pakistan can easily make up a lot of its electricity shortfall through solar energy. Sun Tech Holdings in China is the biggest solar panel manufacturers in the world. When is China going to come to Pakistan’s aid?

    Doesn’t anyone ever take these issues seriously? Why isn’t there any discussion about solar energy in the media?

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