ISLAMABAD - Water and Power Minister, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Wednesday said National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) would announce increase in electricity tariffs during next few days. The Minister said subsidies on electricity and petroleum products have brought the country's economy at the verge of collapse. The NEPRA has recommended 61 per cent increase in electricity tariffs, which the government plans to pass on to the consumers in two phases. The Minister said the NEPRA would announce the decision in next two to three days. The Finance Ministry has already indicated double-digit percentage increase in the tariffs, which might be in the range of 25 to 30 per cent in the first phase.   The government says due to increase in price of petroleum products in the international market, the electricity generation cost has increased many folds, and it only passed on less than ten per cent to the consumers about few months back. The Independent Power Producing Companies (IPPs) are unable to generate electricity at their full capacity, as their fuel supply line has been disrupted due to non-payments to the oil marketing companies. The IPPs own more than Rs 75 billion to the government and in return the IPPs upheld the payments of fuel suppliers. The net of inter-corporate debt has reached closer to Rs 400 billion. Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) and other power companies' receivables have crossed Rs 150 billion. Agencies add: The Ministry of Finance has okayed up to 31 per cent increase in the electricity tariff which will be implemented from September 7, while Federal Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervez Ashraf said that the government had no choice but to take this step. According to sources, the Ministry has approved the summary for raise in electricity rate. It was sent by Nepra. Sources further said subsidy value reached to Rs175b that the government was paying in terms of subsidy on electricity and to decrease this subsidy the government had no choice but to take this decision. Raja Pervez said Nepra had the authority to decide about the electricity rate because it was a regulatory authority. He said new raise in power tariff would be applicable from 50 units and above, while this will not be applicable on those consumers using units less than 50 in a month. Responding to a question, the Minister said there would be no unannounced loadshedding during Ramazan. He further said electricity consumers could contact him directly on his cell No 0333-5210000 in case of loadshedding during Iftar and Sehar timings. The Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) has started work to implement new tariff schedule from September 7. According to PEPCO sources, the issue of payments amounting to billions of rupees for purchase of power is becoming a problem.