PESHAWAR: Peshawar High Court has temporarily stopped the collection of two surcharges imposed by the Centre on industrial power consumers in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Irshad Qaiser issued a stay order on the recovery of financing costs and transaction rationalisation on Thursday. The court fixed August 6 as the next date of hearing in the case.
Around 25 petitioners of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association’s K-P chapter filed a case against the federation for adding new surcharges in the monthly bills of July. A notification regarding the addition was issued on June 10.
Read: Electricity bills: Collect surcharge dues in 12 installments, SC tells govt
These surcharges were imposed at the rate of Rs0.43 per Kilowatt hour (kWh) on the textile mills in K-P. These were imposed under Section 31 (5) of National Electric Power Regularity Authority 1997. As per the section, each distribution company shall pay the federal government such surcharges from time to time in respect of each unit of electric power sold to the consumers. Any amount paid under this sub-section shall be considered as a cost incurred by the distribution company to be included in the tariff determined by Nepra.
The Peshawar Electricity Supply Company is currently receiving these surcharges from textile mills.
Reason for objection
During the course of the hearing on Thursday, counsel for the petitioners Qazi Ghulam Dastagir told the court the industrial sector was already affected by a number of problems, including power outages, poor law and order, and low investment. “Since these mills are utilising thousands of units of electricity every month, the new surcharges will affect revenue and eventually the salaries of employees,” said Dastagir. “The new surcharges should be declared illegal and unconstitutional.”
Upon hearing the preliminary arguments, the court issued a stay order on the two surcharges included in the monthly bills of these petitioners’ industrial units.
The court also sought written replies from Nepra, Pesco and Wapda before August 6, the next date of hearing.
A similar petition has also been filed by Kohat Textile Mills and 12 other mills through their counsel Rehmanullah. The date to hear these petitions will be fixed later.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2015.