Islamabad - National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) is likely to allow a further increase of 52 paisa per kilowatt hour, in the tariff of ex-Wapda distribution companies for the month of September in today’s (Monday) public hearing, which would result in further increase of electricity bills of last month, the Nation has learnt.

Ex-Wapda, power distribution companies (Discos) has sought the increase against the fuel reference charges which are Rs 6.2493 per kilowatt-hour, under monthly fuel charges adjustment.

According to the figures provided by Central Power Purchasing Agency CPPA, a total of 9125 Gigawatts hours (Gwh) electricity was generated during the month of September, while 8,934.91 (GWh) electricity was delivered to Discos worth Rs60,538.26 million. The line losses between energy generated and delivered to Discos were 181.64 GWh.

It is pertinent to mention that these line losses occur while generated power is transferred to Discos. The line losses occur due to electricity theft during power distribution are separate.

The energy generation during September from hydel was 3532.44 GWh, coal 7.85 Gwh, HSD 320.17, Residual Fuel Oil (RFO) 2779.77 GWh, gas 1876.14 GWh, nuclear 432 GWh, Import from Iran 40.21 GWh, mixed 105.45 GWh and wind 31.59 GWh. According to the data submitted in Nepra, the percentage of hydel in energy mix was 38.71, coal .09, HSD 3.51, gas 20.56, nuclear 4.73, imported from Iran .44, while wind energy contribution to power generation mix was only 0.35 percent.

The second biggest contributor to the energy mix was RFO, which is usually called the furnace oil with 31.46 percent. Energy generation from RFO costs Rs43518.28 million which is more than 70 percent of total cost incurred on generating 9125 GWh for the month of September. The energy cost from coal was Rs.4.49 kilowatts per hour, HSD Rs. 20.20 kWh, RFO 15.6554 kWh, gas 4.30 kWh, nuclear 1.18 kWh, while cost of kilowatt hour for imported electricity from Iran stood at Rs.9.80.

K-Electric has also sought an increase in the tariff for the months of July and August.

In the documents submitted to Nepra, K-Electric has stated that during July 2014, the monthly variation was Rs85.930 million, whereas during the month of September 2014, the total variation incurred was Rs 1158.211 million.

According to sources, Nepra will allow this increase, which will result in further swelling of September’s electricity bills. Under monthly fuel adjustment charges we rely on data provided by CCPA, usually authority accept and allow the suggested variation unless something extraordinary is not brought into the attention of the authority and we have not received any yet”, said a source in Nepra. The increase in electricity tariff by distribution companies has been sought at a time when public is already protesting against the excess bills delivered during last couple of months.

On the grilling of opposition and mass protests from general public, the Prime Minister constituted a team of auditors and other professionals to probe and also directed Advisor Ministry of Water and Power to hold a separate inquiry into the matter. The committee probing the causes of over billing has reportedly said in its preliminary findings that around 60 percent consumers received excess bills during last three months starting from Ramadan.

According to sources on reprimand of high ups Ministry of water and officials has started a blame game to satisfy high ups. In an attempt of face saving, the officials have been portraying that the over billing was due to new meters installed during last one year.

 It is the responsibility of ministry of water and power to check the quality and performance of the meters, why they allowed and installed substandard or fast running meters is any body’s guess. The former secretary Nargis Sethi, and her team were reportedly held responsible for the long spells of blackouts and over billing.

Sethi has been stating that due to high electricity generation cost, the electricity price shoot up. This claim was neither accepted by the government nor the public, as for every increase ministry of water and power has to seek approval from the regulatory authority, but none was sought.

Water and power officials claim that over billing issue would fade away with the retirement of Sethi and the recent appointment of his replacement. Boss will not come to office now, as she is retiring in December, with her retirement excess bill issue would fade away and not only government but people will also forget it in a month or two, a source in ministry of water and power said. Sethi is on leave and is set to retire in last week of December.

It is pertinent to mention that before Sethi many irregularities in ministry of water and power were reported, including that power distribution companies were selling electricity and were reporting it theft in papers, by bribing ministry of water and power officials, but with the appointment of Sethi all past were gone and no enquiry was ever held.

 We have a new boss again, now it will be new issues all older are buried now, the source said, adding, the policies are mostly devised by bureaucrats for their own vested interests, but no civil servant was ever held accountable for any misdeed in the history of the country.

It is pertinent to mention that despite the allegations all alleged officials of ministry of water and power are holding their offices and performing their duties. Insiders said that over billing was due to change of slab and withdrawing subsidies, to comply with the conditions of IMF.