ISLAMABAD - Cancelling its orders, issued on July 6, for staying the proposed increase in electricity prices, the Supreme Court of Pakistan allowed National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) to work out a power tariffs formula as per the demands of electricity generation and distribution companies. However, the apex court directed NEPRA to inform the court in advance in case it recommends increase in the electricity tariffs. The court also directed the Ministry of Water and Power and Ministry of Finance to inform the court about the proposed withdrawal of subsidy on electricity or increase in tariffs of the utility. A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and comprising Justice Chaudhry Ijaz Ahmad and Justice Jawwad S Khawaja heard the suo motto case, taken on pieces of news appeared in media, against the proposed increase in power tariffs despite reduction in oil prices in the international market. Counsel for the electricity generation and distribution companies, Anwar Kamal, prayed to the court to allow NEPRA to work out power tariffs formula on the petitions submitted by the said companies. He said that the companies needed increase in tariffs to meet their revenue requirements and said that it was the government, which did not let people suffer from the hike in tariffs and subsidised the utility. Counsel for NEPRA Ijaz stated that according to his knowledge, the government had decided not to withdraw subsidy on electricity for the time being. He said that as for as NEPRA was concerned, its duty was to make recommendations to the government on the basis of petitions filed by the electricity generation and distribution companies, while keeping in view their revenue requirements. The Chief Justice remarked that the court did not intend to stop them from working out the formula for increase in electricity tariffs. However, it should be in accordance with rules, he observed. The court then withdrew its July 6 order, which had stayed the proposed increase in power tariffs. But the court simultaneously directed NEPRA to inform the court in advance if it was going to recommend increase in electricity tariffs. The ministries of water and power and Finance were also directed to inform the court about the proposed withdrawal of the subsidy or increase in tariffs of electricity by next hearing in the case. The court order also allowed the government to consider increase in electricity tariffs as per the recommendation of NEPRA but the same could not be passed on to the people unless allowed by the court, Anwar Kamal explained to TheNation. The case was adjourned till date-in-office after three weeks.