PHC sends petitions against fuel price adjustment to regulator for decision

PESHAWAR: Quashing a stay order against the levying of fuel price adjustment in the electricity bills of residents of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Peshawar High Court on Thursday referred the case to the National Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) for decision.

A bench consisting of Judge Mohammad Ibrahim Khan and Judge Shakil Ahmad ruled on 16 motions mainly asking the court to declare illegal the imposition of the FPA on the province’s electricity bills.

The bench issued a short order observing that Nepra was the correct forum to decide the matter and not her.

The petitions were filed by the Frontier Printers and Publishers Association, Jamaat-i-Islami leader Prof. Mohammad Ibrahim, and several industry units.

Rescinds stay order against FPA collection in province

The High Court had granted interim relief to the FPPA in September this year and suspended the collection, taxation and charging of the FPA to the extent of electricity consumers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Lawyers for some of the petitioners argued that the billing of FPA to the petitioners and other consumers in the province was illegal and without legal authority.

They argued that the energy thus consumed by KP’s consumers was from hydroelectric generation and that in this respect the province was self-sufficient, while excess electricity was shared with other provinces.

Counsel argued that the collection of the FPA was subject to the production of electricity by sources other than water.

They asked the court to order the respondents, including the Peshawar Electric Supply Company, to return the amount collected under the FPA to the applicants and other consumers in the province from whom it had been unlawfully collected.

Additional Attorney General Amir Javed and Deputy Attorney General Sanaullah appeared for the Federal Government and argued that the petitions were inadmissible as the High Court had no jurisdiction to decide the matter.

He said Nepra was a statutory body set up under the Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution Regulation Act 1997, known as the Nepra Act, to regulate utility services. electricity in the country.

Mr. Javed said Nepra was exclusively mandated to determine tariffs, rates and charges and other terms and conditions for the provision of electric power services by generation, transmission and distribution companies.

The AAG stated that all decisions/determinations were made by Nepra in accordance with relevant law in a transparent manner providing equal hearing opportunities to all stakeholders.

He referred to several judgments from superior courts, including the Peshawar High Court, in support of his case.

He pointed out that in February 2022, the PHC disposed of several identical requests and referred the case to Nepra for decision.

Referring to the judgment of the high court, he said the court observed that it had no expertise in the matter and could not conduct an investigation.

He added that the tribunal had also observed that Nepra was the proper forum for such matters under section 7(2)(g) and section 3(1) of the Nepra Act and that it also had the power to review his order.

He said since the petitioners have not approached Nepra on the matter, it would be appropriate to refer the petitions to them for decision after hearing.

The Petitioner FPPA had stated that the Respondents sent a huge amount on June August electricity bills to electricity consumers because of FPA which exceeded the payment capacity of the members of the Petitioner Association as well as other consumers.

Posted in Dawn, November 4, 2022

Eleanor C. William