LHC suspends FCA for all consumers

Judge at Pindi bench orders IESCO chief to appear before court on Sept 15

Our Correspondent August 31, 2022


The Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi bench on Tuesday ordered the authorities concerned to suspend the fuel charges adjustment (FCA) from power tariffs of all consumers instead of just those using up to 200 units, in what comes as a major relief to electricity users.

The bench, headed by Justice Jawad Hassan, was hearing a petition filed by Advocate Ch Rizwan Elahi.

The petitioner requested the court to withdraw the FCA being charged from power consumers.

The judge, while suspending the FCA, ordered the Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) chief to appear before the court on September 15.

The Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) and National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) were also summoned at the next date of hearing.

Separately, the LHC rejected a plea against the FCA.

Justice Anwaar Hussain was hearing a petition filed by Sardar Mehrab Hassan, a leader of the Pakistan Kissan Party, seeking interim relief for agricultural and domestic consumers.

The judge rejected the plea but gave interim relief to a farm consumer in connection with the FCA.

The court also sought a reply from the federal government, Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) and other power distribution companies on the issue.

Read LHC restrains authorities from arresting PML-N lawmakers

The judge ordered clubbing of all similar petitions on the matter and fixed the date of September 15 for hearing them.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had recently announced waiving FCA on electricity bills for 17 million consumers out of a total of 30 million.

Federal Energy Minister Khurrum Dastgir had later said at a news conference that the elimination of FCA in the entire country was for only those who consumed up to 200 units of electricity per month.

The minister had added that the relief package was designed keeping in mind the agreement with the International Monetary Fund.

Dastgir had maintained that the FCA situation was a “legacy” of the failures of the PTI-led government that still continued.

He had blamed the previous regime for not charging FCA on time, leading to the current situation.

The relief gesture from the government on FCA has not come well with the consumers.

Rather, it is a tale of confusion as it will come into effect only from September bills.

Secondly, the fact that electricity consumers will have to bear the toil for July to September bills is an untenable cost.

The decision to exempt the recently announced fuel adjustment charges came after countrywide protests. But here too the government opted for a barometer that consumers under 200 units will not have to pay FCA, which will cost the national exchequer Rs22 billion.

The argument is that it was unavoidable as high fuel prices in the international market in June compelled it to pass on the buck.


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