FOR the past many days people all around the country could not help but take to the streets to register their protest against frequent power outages and over billing. The condition that the country already finds itself in could prove to be a recipe for social unrest. It is understandable to see people in anger. Oddly enough, the public is being handed out electricity bills with over a 70 percent increase, while the regular power cuts continue lasting 12 to 15 hours. It is precisely the over billing, that is the main source of resentment forcing people to roll up with crowds attacking WAPDA offices across the country. This is indeed unfortunate and reflects poorly on the government's commitment to deliver. It bears repeating that while the power crisis has badly hit the industrial sector and economy in general, it is the common man whose budget has nearly been destroyed by excessive billing. Though a committee has been formed by Water and Power Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf to look into the matter, there is little hope that the people's worry would be over. Mr Ashraf's observation at the press conference announcing the formation of the committee, that sometimes the authorities had to take tough decisions, only reflects his indifference to the misery of the masses who are bearing the brunt of the crisis. The confusion over the tariff hike must be removed at the earliest. The government ought to realise that by fleecing the people by unfairly charging them, it has committed a blunder. In the broader picture, though there may be some external factors like the failure of the previous government to launch any power project, the current dispensation has a responsibility to straighten things out without any further delay. Its performance during the past six months in the context of energy crisis is bad, to say the least. The recent incidents of attacks on LESCO offices in Lahore and on other distribution companies elsewhere clearly signal that the people would not allow themselves to be subjected to such injustice.