LAHORE The Lahore High Court on Friday suspended the notification issued by NEPRA, increasing six to 12 per cent power charges with respect to Lahore Electricity Supply Company (LESCO) for domestic and industrial consumers. The court stopped LESCO from enforcing the tariff increase both in domestic and industrial bills and issued notice to WAPDA, NEPRA and LESCO for May 26 for further proceedings in this regard. Justice Farrukh Irfan granted this stay on a writ petition filed by Zafar Iqbal Chaudhry, President Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), through his counsel Shehram Sarwar Advocate, stating as LESCO was already collecting huge revenue from its consumers so the recent increase in tariff was against the principles of justice and fair play. He stated the NEPRA affected the increase in tariff through a notification issued on April 19, applicable from April 1st while consumers were already paying inflated bills despite massive loadshedding. Staying the notification, the judge observed: it was true that LESCO was already collecting revenue more than other power supply companies. The petitioner counsel pleaded that the power tariff was increased without keeping in view ground realities, and it should not be allowed to cheat the consumers. He said tariff was increased by six per cent in the October-December quarter and now another 12 per cent in January-March is a burden on consumers. He lamented over the fact that neither the shortfall in electricity production nor other factor like line losses were being handled properly, regretting that respondents have made it a routine to charge the consumers, particularly the industrial sector with higher rates on one ground or the other. He said the increase has been made on the dictates of IMF, ignoring the problems of industry and the domestic consumers. The respondents instead of nabbing the consumers responsible for the line losses have opted to burden the whole industrial and commercial sectors, particularly of Lahore, the petitioner said, stressing that both the trade and industry segments were already in dire straits because of multiple internal and external challenges, and the recent hike is bound to aggravate the situation further.