LAHORE- The Lahore High Court on Tuesday adjourned for November 14 the hearing of more than 100 petitions of industrial and textile units challenging increased tariff of electricity. The court also directed the Lesco and petitioners to make efforts to adopt recourse and inform the court on next hearing besides ordering Lesco's counsel to submit his arguments in written form. The Lesco's counsel argued that the Nepra was empowered under Nepra Act to modify the tariff when it is required. He further pointed out that external factors like price-hike in raw material also affected the cost of electricity. At this point, the court remarked that as the petroleum prices have considerably come down, why the government and Wapda are not providing benefit to the people. The petitions were filed by the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) on behalf of its members while dozens of industrial units individually filed petitions challenging the implementation of revised tariff of electricity at peak hours and much higher rates on users of 5-KWH or above electricity. Representing APTMA, Syed Ali Zafar argued that the determination of tariffs is by law an open procedure starting from filing of petition by any distribution company (such as Lesco) seeking determination of tariff and culminating in the decision made by Nepra and during the whole process of the determination of tariff an opportunity of hearing has to be provided to all stakeholders and interested parties who are invited through that Lesco and other referred to as interveners. He said the Lesco and other Discos increased the tariff without any valid determination and hearings and as a result the entire business sector is coming to a halt. Mr Zafar further pleaded that asking for revisions time and again by Lesco from Nepra is an illegal act and ulterior motive of which was simply to gain more moneys and illegal profits from APTMA causing thereby irreparable sufferings to the members of the association. The counsel pointed out that the government is considering the matter afresh in a committee in which the stakeholders are also discussing the matter. Other petitioners also argued that Nepra determined the tariff on February 23, 2007 and made industrial consumers to pay substantially higher rate of electricity. But despite enduring sufferings they started making payment in the best national interest. However, just after 13 days of passing of tariff, the electric distribution companies like Lahore Electricity Supply Company (Lesco), Faisalabad Electricity Supply Company (Fesco), Gujranwala Electricity Power Company (Gepco) and Multan Electricity Power Company (Mepco) filed a review petition before Nepra. The petitioners said the Nepra did not have the review powers under the law but it proceeded with and accepted their review petitions without giving nay notice to petitioners or their parent association APTMA.