Contempt notices: Electricity bosses run afoul of court on fuel charge

PHC orders to discontinue a fuel adjustment charge on electricity bills in K-P ignored.


Umer Farooq August 29, 2012

PESHAWAR:


The Peshawar High Court (PHC) has issued contempt of court notices to the chairman of the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra), the chief executive of Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) and the secretary of the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) after they violated court orders to discontinue a fuel adjustment charge on electricity bills in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).


A division bench comprising Justice Shahjahan Akhunzada and Justice Asadullah Khan Chamkani had been hearing a writ petition filed by around 70 local consumers and industrialists asking the court to exempt K-P residents from fuel adjustment charges.

At the first hearing on February 28, counsel for the petitioners, Shumail Butt, informed the PHC division bench comprising Chief Justice (CJ) PHC Dost Muhammad Khan and Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth that K-P had been generating more electricity than it consumed and that charging residents extra was an injustice.

The same day, Chief Justice Khan issued orders for Pesco and Nepra to stop collecting fuel adjustment charges from consumers in K-P. He also directed both Pesco and Nepra to deduct the charges from the residents’ January bills. A ten-day deadline was given to the authorities concerned to deduct the charges.

The bench had also directed Wapda authorities to explain their policy on collecting fuel adjustment charges for a province which generates double hydel power electricity than that of its consumption.

However, during the hearing on Tuesday, Advocate Abdul Samab Marwat informed the court that the PHC had already issued stay orders for collecting the extra amount, adding that Wapda had been charging customers anyway, which, he said, was tantamount to contempt of court.

Following the hearing, the bench issued contempt of court Nepra notices to secretary Wapda, chairman and Pesco chief executive, asking them to submit their reply before September 18.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2012.

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