In a setback for the already burdened public grappling with inflation, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) has greenlit a fuel cost adjustment, paving the way for a Rs7.0562 per unit increase in tariffs for March 2024.

This decision grants state-run power distribution companies the authority to impose additional charges, projecting a staggering financial burden of around Rs56 billion on consumers.

This figure could potentially soar to nearly Rs66 billion, taking into account the 18 per cent general sales tax (GST).

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It’s important to note that this tariff adjustment is applicable across all consumer categories, except for electric vehicle charging stations (EVCS) and lifeline consumers.

The Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA), representing the distribution companies, had initially sought Rs7.13 per unit in its petition.

Earlier this month, The News highlighted the plea from ex-Wapda distribution companies (XWDiscos) seeking Nepra’s approval for the Rs7.13 per unit increase.

This was attributed to a significant drop in hydropower production and systemic constraints, such as the incapacity of the high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line to efficiently transport economically viable power from southern producers to the north.

Amidst these developments, commentators express concern over the substantial surge in fuel costs, reaching Rs14.6206/kWh for January 2024.

In response, Nepra has taken decisive action, initiating an investigation under Section 27-A of the NEPRA Act to uncover the reasons behind this significant fuel cost, as claimed by CPPA-G for January 2024.