Transparency International Pakistan (TI-P) has accused Karachi Electric (KE) of sending “exaggerated” electricity bills to consumers. On March 5, 2020, National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) had also sought a report from KE which has not yet been provided.
According to TI-P, which has sent letters to Secretary to Prime Minister, Director General NAB, Karachi, Director General FIA and others, it onsent a complaint to Nepra for an ‘exaggerated’ bill to TI-P office for June 2013, on February 19,2015. KE was ordered by Electric Inspector to rectify the bill.
TI-P states that from January 2020, KE has started charging fuel adjustment charges without any tariff increase notification from Nepra: for January 2020 @ of Rs 38.56 per unit over the December bill 2019 @ Rs 25.76 per unit, which is 50% increase over December tariff.
It further stated that the bill for the month of February 2020 is Rs 35.70/unit which indicates a 40 percent increase over December tariff. TI-P claims that this is tantamount to massive over billing without any justification and notification.
The organisation, in its letter has sought a clarification as to whether the regulator, i.e., Nepra, has allowed KE to charge Rs. 38.57 per unit, and if the answer is no what action will Nepra take against the power utility under the provisions of the Nepra Act No XL of 1996.
TI-P has noted that Pakistan’s economy is suffering because of noncompetitive product cost, the main reason being exorbitant energy charges on residential, commercial and industrial units. Small industries and offices of exporters are also charged commercial tariff, which increases their production/export costs. The responsibility of higher tariff rests with Nepra, who should have evaluated the tariff request of energy producers, with the comparable tariff within the region, namely Turkey, India and Bangladesh.
Article 19-A gives right to TI-P on access to information pertaining to a public authority, a fundamental right, and to hold them answerable. TI- P has also quoted the remarks of former LHC Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah (who is now SC Judge) in one of his landmark judgments: “Right to information is another corrective tool which allows public access to the working and decision making of the public authorities.
It opens the working of public administration to public scrutiny. This necessitates transparent and structured exercise of discretion by the public functionaries. Article 19-A empowers the civil society of this country to seek information from public institutions and hold them answerable. PLD 2010 Lahore 605.”