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Unjustified and illegal price increase by KESC

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Letters to the Editor The Dawn. (That was never printed by Dawn). KESC Tariff Increase According to reports, NEPRA has allowed KESC to increase electricity rates by a hefty 17% from March 2010, despite the fact that a petition has been filed against KESC and NEPRA by The Law Foundation, Helpline Trust, Shehri and others, relating to the unjustified and illegal price increase by KESC. (C. P. No. D-1380/2009). The petition has challenged the basis on which NEPRA has allowed KESC to constantly increase its tariff and has requested the Honorable Court to issue a Stay Order against tariff increases while the petition is being argued in the court. NEPRA was established to protect and safe guard the interests of the consumers, but unfortunately, it has failed to do so and seems to be taking decisions on tariff increase without verifying the facts, at the cost of the consumers. According to electrical experts, 80% of KESC generation is based on gas, so the increase of crude oil prices in the international market should not be the excuse for increasing KESC tariff rates. At the same time, KESC gets 30% of its power from WAPDA, which is a hydel source, therefore there should be no fuel adjustment charge, as ‘fuel’ is not being used to generate power. So, once again there is no justification for KESC to demand any ‘fuel adjustment’ charges on all its units billed. Furthermore, regarding the demand of ‘Fixed Charges’ in its billing, it is mandatory for KESC to supply uninterrupted electricity to the consumers, but when there is no power due to load shedding, then it is illegal for KESC to demand payment of ‘Fixed Charges’ for that period of load shedding from the consumers. The 17% electricity tariff increase will further burden the ordinary citizens, businesses and industry and could be the last straw on the breaking backs of the hapless consumers and could lead to a serious law and order situation in the cities of Pakistan. According to law, any increase in KESC tariff rates at the present stage is sub-judice, as Hon. Court has directed KESC and NEPRA to present the costing details of the basis of their tariff calculations at the next hearing, which is fixed on 16th June, 2010. One can only hope that the Honorable Court will take into consideration the gross violation by NEPRA of its own guidelines and mandate and provide the much needed relief to the consumers by issuing a Stay Order against any tariff increase by KESC till the final judgment in the case.

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