Islamabad - To clear Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s share of  Rs51 billion, the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) on Thursday pleaded before the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) to increase hydel tariff by Rs 1.50 per unit.

On the directives of Council of Common Interests (CCI), WAPDA has filed a petition in NEPRA, in which it has requested it for the recovery of Rs51 billion from the electricity consumers.

According to a WAPDA official, “The petition has been filed to raise the tariff on the directives of Council of Common Interests (CCI) to clear the KP dues,” the official added.

NEPRA conducted the public hearing on the WAPDA’s petition for an increase in the power tariff. The proceedings were presided over by NEPRA Chairman Tariq Saddozai. The Authority reserved the judgment in the petition.

NEPRA was informed that increase in hydel tariff by Rs 1.50 per unit would result in an average increase of 55 paisa per unit in the electricity bills.

The petition has come in the wake of a formal memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by Water and Power Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak on Feb 25, and subsequently approved by the CCI on Feb 29.

Under the agreement, WAPDA would clear the payment of Rs70 billion net hydropower profit in four years.

WAPDA authorities informed during the hearing that WAPDA had to clear backlog of Rs51 billion, and therefore, a new tariff of Rs3.01 per unit (after the raise of Rs 1.50) should be approved to raise money from the consumers.

In its petition to NEPRA, WAPDA informed that federal government had directed to generate Rs25 billion as loan from banks, and added Rs1.875 billion as mark-up before charging consumers for the first installment during the current fiscal year. WAPDA official further said that the authority would have to pay Rs15 billion to KP next year on account of net hydropower profit.

WAPDA has also asked the power regulator to allow current arrears of NHP on regular tariff amounting to Rs9.29 billion.

The representatives of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) opposed increase in the hydel tariff, and demanded that burden of tariff increase should not be passed on to the consumers.

They said that power tariff was already high and further increase in it would add to miseries of the consumers.

They said the government was already pocketing Rs 41 billion from the power consumers under the head of tariff rationalisation charge, and wanted to put Rs71 billion additional burden on the consumers by increasing the hydel tariff to pay the profit.

“The federal government should pay from national kitty, and the consumers should not be burdened,” they demanded.

In November 2015, Nepra had an approximately 217 per cent increase in the Net Hydel Profit (NHP) for KP, while enhancing the price of cheaper hydropower by around 16 percent.

As a consequence, the KP government would now be entitled to around Rs18 billion NHP, annually, as compared to Rs6 billion in the previous years.