THE National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has given the electricity distribution companies an increase of Rs 1.02 per unit on account of increases in international fuel prices. This is not balanced by the signing of MoUs the same day, which should bring on line 2400MW of electricity generated from Thar coal. Though the Thar coal has long been identified as a plentiful source of fuel for the power plants needed by the country, only now have practical steps been taken to exploit it. However, this news was overshadowed by that of the fuel price hike. So far, power prices have only increased, with not even the token lowering of prices that POL products have seen. It has also not been explained why NEPRA has felt the need to give the distribution companies an increase on account of fuel at a time of falling world prices. The Thar coal has not yet come online, it is now scheduled to do so next year. Though its price is not determined, it must be by then, so that the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company, which will also produce 1200MW, should know at what rate it would supply coal to PEPCO, which will also produce 1200MW. Apart from these two, five companies, four foreign and one local, have filed investment proposals with the Sindh governments Thar Coal Energy Board, which first approved the current proposals. The Thar coal projects have the advantage that, unlike with the rental power plants, the fuel is indigenous. It does not have to be imported, and does not depend on the vagaries of the international market. However, if NEPRA does not stop giving price increases on the fuel adjustment head, even electricity produced from Thar coal will not be as affordable as it should be. NEPRA only gives the price increases it is asked for, and thus the increase is really the responsibility of WAPDA, or rather its controlling Ministry, that of Water and Power. However, since that Ministry is bound by the governments agreement with the IMF, this latest increase is really to be blamed on that agreement. The increase is merely one of the inflationary effects of the increase in fuel prices that took place recently, and it will be duly reflected in the Sensitive Price Index. However, going by past precedent, it will not matter to the government, The government has grown used to the masses suffering, even though as an elected government, it should not. This is a certain method of inviting the wrath of the electorate at the next election. The government must end its agreement with the IMF, and adopt methods to use the new power generated by Thar coal to ensure a reduction in the price of electricity.