The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) has approved a tariff increase of Rs2.31 per unit for K-Electric (KE) consumers due to June 2023’s monthly fuel charges adjustment. This is slightly below KE’s requested Rs2.34 per unit hike. The new tariff takes effect in August and excludes lifeline consumers and electric vehicle charging stations.

A public hearing on July 26, 2023, discussed KE’s proposal to address higher fuel costs for electricity generation in June. KE generated electricity at Rs24.90 per unit internally, while government-supplied electricity cost Rs11.56 per unit during that period. Nepra’s analysis resulted in an upward revision of Rs2.31 per unit for June, compared to KE’s requested increase.

Conversely, Nepra raised the power tariff by Rs1.81 per unit for ex-Wapda distribution companies (DISCOs) in June’s fuel charges adjustment, slightly less than the hike for KE consumers. The Central Power Purchasing Agency-Guarantee (CPPA-G) requested a tariff increase of Rs1.88 per unit on behalf of DISCOs.

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This tariff adjustment, effective in August, applies to all DISCOs customers except lifeline consumers and electric vehicle charging stations. It follows a public hearing held by Nepra on July 26. Earlier, DISCOs customers paid Rs1.90 per unit under May 2023’s fuel charges adjustment, making the new rate Rs0.09 per unit lower.

While the tariff increase has raised concerns among consumers, it has also spotlighted the delay in approving renewable energy projects. During KE’s petition hearing, an industrial consumer, Rehan Javed, highlighted pending Requests for Proposals (RFPs) with Nepra, which could expedite affordable electricity production through renewables, benefiting Karachi’s businesses.

Nepra member Rafique Ahmed Shaikh expressed disappointment in KE’s slow progress in embracing renewable energy. Delayed approval of RFPs has hindered renewable energy initiatives.

The Ministry of Energy’s bid to raise the base tariff for the new fiscal year, potentially leading to record-high prices, underscores the urgency of integrating renewable energy into the national energy mix.