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Govt planning to increase electricity rates by Rs3.26 per unit

Govt planning to increase electricity rates by Rs3.26 per unit

ISLAMABAD: The electricity users are likely to face further hike in power prices as the government is planning to increase electricity rates by Rs3.26 per unit in coming months in order to meet revenue requirements of power distribution companies (DISCOS). The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has already increased electricity tariff by 33 per cent or Rs1.20 per unit after coming into power.

According to media reports consumers are expected to face another increase of Rs2.33 per unit during the current financial year. The power tariff is expected to jump from the existing Rs12.98 per unit to Rs13.85 per unit registering an increase of Rs0.87 per unit in ongoing month of March.

The tariff is expected to further increase to Rs15.31 per unit in June 2019 as the government plans to generate Rs223 billion in revenues for power distribution companies.

In the next financial year, the consumers are also likely to face an increase in electricity price by Rs0.94 per unit on account of quarterly adjustment. Rs97 billion are expected to be generated this way.

Total base tariff is expected to jump from Rs12.98 per unit to Rs16.24 per unit registering a net increase of Rs3.26 per unit. In addition to the increase following quarterly adjustments, the consumers may also face another increase of Rs1.9 per unit on account of monthly adjustments from April to June 2019.

This increase will be witnessed if 850 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) gas is supplied to the power plants on permanent basis. If the power plants face gas shortage and use furnace oil, the prices will go up further on account of monthly fuel adjustment, an official said. The power plants have consumed 613,314 metric tons oil during December 2018 and January 2019 due to low gas supplies.

The official said all furnace oil stocks have been consumed in December and January due to low gas supplies and the government now plans to lift ban on import of furnace oil to build stocks for summers.

The demand of electricity in summer season would increase and, therefore, the government would have to run all power plants on full capacity. Earlier, the government had imposed a ban on furnace oil import in order to utilise the locally produced furnace oil as the local refineries had warned to shut down due to reluctance of power sector to lift their supplies.

Officials said power distribution companies were still facing problems of losses and power theft despite the anti-theft drive launched by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.

Circular debt was still a threat due to high losses, power theft and low recovery of bills. The losses could increase further if the transmission and distribution system is not improved. The other issues are delay in paying due subsidies by government and notification in tariff, they added.