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KE to collect additional surcharge from Karachiites

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Workers seen on an electric pole in Islamabad, on October 26, 2023. — APP
Workers seen on an electric pole in Islamabad, on October 26, 2023. — APP

ISLAMABAD: The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) Thursday approved a hike of Rs1.52 per kWh surcharge for Karachi Electric (KE) consumers.

The approval was given on the federal government’s request, which will translate into a whopping Rs24.50 billion burden on Karachiites.

The sole power supplier of Pakistan’s biggest city — in terms of population — will be able to collect this additional surcharge for a period of a year, from December 2023 to November 2024, according to Nepra.

Although the power regulator has approved the rise in the tariff, the federal cabinet nod is necessary to notify it. The increase will not affect the sole power provider’s lifeline customers.

“In view of the foregoing discussion, response of the MoE, and the fact that Motion has been filed under Section 3 1(8) of the NEPRA Act, which empowers the Federal Government for imposition of surcharge, and is being levied for fulfillment of the financial obligation of the Federal Government, the Authority has decided to allow the subject Motion i.e. recovery of Rs. 1.52/kWh from the consumers of K-Electric, except life line, for a period of twelve months from December 2023 to November 2024,” Nepra said.

The government has taken several measures to hike gas and power tariffs in a bid to curtail the circular debt and satisfy the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for releasing a much-needed loan under a short-term programme.

Pakistan is set to receive $700 million soon, which will boost the economically struggling nation’s foreign reserves and help it pay off debts and in terms of imports.

Expressing the commitment to further hike electricity and gas tariffs, caretaker Minister for Finance Dr Shamshad Akhtar had said that the interim government plans to increase gas prices in January next year to address the circular debt issue.

Addressing a press conference here at the Q Block last week, she said that under the IMF’s Stand-By Agreement Programme (SBA), it has been agreed to reduce costs in the energy sector and restore efficiency in the sector.

“The circular debt of the power and gas sectors has crossed 4 percent of Gross Domestic Product. Urgent action is needed to bring it down. We have started work in this regard and electricity and gas rates have been adjusted accordingly,” she added.

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