LAHORE - The Lahore High Court Wednesday rejected almost 600 petitions challenging recovery of equalisation surcharge from electricity consumers. The rejection of all these petitions means that Wapda authorities could collect equalisation surcharge from domestic and industrial consumers who are already under burden of huge billing.

The court ruled that government was legally empowered to collect equalisation surcharge, however, it will recover the same in 12 installments.  The petitioner’s counsel contended that the government was illegal collecting equalisation surcharge from all electricity consumers. He argued the equalisation surcharge cannot be charged forcibly from one province in the name of line losses of other provinces.

He further argued that such surcharge was against the fundamental rights while the cabinet had also not approved it.

However, the legal advisor of Wapda said that equalisation surcharge was imposed under the Nepra Act while the approval of the cabinet was not required. The legal advisor stated equalisation surcharge was imposed to meet shortage of funds allocated for subsidy in electricity bills.   After hearing both sides, Justice Shujaat Ali Khan of the LHC dismissed approximately all petitions.