Electricity rates: Court directs govt to notify reduced tariff before July 3

Turns down plea to allow time to challenge tariff set by NEPRA in January.


Rana Tanveer June 29, 2014

LAHORE:


The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Saturday directed the federal government to notify the reduced electricity tariff determined by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) on January 2, 2014.


Hearing petitions moved by a cement company and other industrial consumers, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah ordered an additional secretary of the water and power ministry to notify the reduced tariff before July 3.

Appearing before the court, the additional secretary said that three power distribution companies (Discos) – namely Multan Electric Power Company and Lahore and Hyderabad electric supply companies – had filed a review against Nepra’s tariff.

He said the government did not notify the tariff due to the pendency of these applications. The secretary added that the government was considering filing a review petition against Nepra’s tariff as well.

Justice Shah, however, noted that the government did not file any review against the tariff within the stipulated 15-day period.



“It is also not clear whether the federal government can file a second review against the decision dated June 12, 2014, already passed in the review filed by the three Discos,” he observed. The judge added that the federal government was dragging its feet over notifying the tariff and no ‘plausible or satisfactory justification’ was offered by the additional secretary.

“The tariff determined by Nepra is lower than the one in previous years... [its] notification will be beneficial for the general public, hence the delay in notifying is against public interest,” he observed.

The additional secretary said the government will issue the notification in two weeks, subject to the qualification that it may want to consider the possibility of filing a review against the decision.

The judge, however, turned down the request and directed the government to notify the rates of electricity tariff determined by Nepra before the next date of hearing.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2014.

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