LAHORE – MIAN DAWOOD - Terming Nepra an inefficient body of the country, the Lahore High Court on Monday declared the recovery of fuel adjustment charges unlawful.
Justice Muhammad Khalid Mahmood Khan directed the Nepra nd Wapda to refund the money if collected from the consumers.
However, the court allowed National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra), Water & Power Development Authority (Wapda) and others to recover fuel adjustment charges from industries and the domestic consumers using more than 350 units electricity.
The judge remitted the matter to Nepra for a consideration and directed to pass a reasoned speaking order on various issues raised through the petitions.
The court observed in its judgment that Nepra was an inefficient body of the country that had failed to determine the hardships of poor masses whose earning is not more than Rs15,000.
The court further observed that the judiciary was bound to protect the rights of people given to them in constitution.
Gulshan Spinning Mills, Rupali Polyester, various domestic consumers and others challenged the recovery of fuel adjustment charges in year 2011.
The petitioners submitted that the electricity was one of the biggest single components which alone constitute 50 % of their total cost of end product.
Minor fluctuation in the electricity price affects the cost of production. They further contended that they had paid electricity bills for the month of April, May, June but the respondents acting retrospectively added 20% amount as fuel adjustment charges for months of April, May to the bill of October.
They submitted that the respondent electric companies took the action on basis of two notifications issued by the federal government on August 23, 2011 under added proviso S 31(4) of the Regulation, Generation, transmission, Distribution of Electric Power Act of 1997.
They submitted that the said provision was added as it was not provided in the original Act.
They contended that as per law no notification having adverse financial impact could be issued retrospectively.
The petitioners contended that the bills for the months of April, May had been paid, therefore, it was a close and past transaction and respondents were not authorised to receive fuel adjustment charges for said months.
They pleaded the court to set aside fuel adjustment charges and notification issued in this regard besides restraining respondents from any adverse action against them.
However, the respondents argued that the notification issued for the recovery of charges was legal and pleaded the court to dismiss the petitions.