PHC suspends fuel price adjustment in electricity bills – Pakistan

PESHAWAR: In suspending the fuel price adjustment in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa electricity bills, the Peshawar High Court ordered the state and provincial electricity utilities, their regulator and the Ministry to Energy to respond to a motion against the imposition of the FPA.

A bench consisting of Judge Roohul Amin Khan and Judge Shahid Khan issued the stay order against the FPA in local residents’ electricity bills at the request of the Frontier Printers and Publishers Association and issued notices to the respondents, including the CEO of Pesco, the presidents of Wapda and National Electric Power Regulatory Authority, Federal Secretary of Energy, for response at the next hearing.

She observed that the points raised by the petitioner deserved to be examined.

It decided to grant an interim measure to the petitioner stating that the collection, taxation and billing of FPA have been suspended to the extent of electricity consumers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Calls on government, Pesco and regulator to respond to petition against FPA taxation

Attorneys Shahid Qayyum Khattak and Saeed Roman appeared for the claimant, while Nazish Muzaffar represented Pesco along with chief legal counsel Irfan Riayat and legal counsel Mohammad Taufeeq.

Counsel for the Petitioner argued that the imposition of FPAs on the Petitioner and other consumers in that province was unlawful and without legal authority.

They argued that the electricity so 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.

They argued that the collection of FPA was subject to the generation of energy by sources other than hydel.

They argued that the imposition of the FPA on consumers in that province was likely to be declared null and void.

They asked the court to prevent the respondents from claiming and recovering the FPA from consumers here in the future.

They further asked the Court to order the Respondents to return the amount already taxed/collected and collected as FPA to the Petitioner and other consumers in the province, from whom it was unlawfully collected.

Lawyers said most of the association’s members did business in small shops and it had been hit hard by the escalating rate of inflation.

They said that the respondents had sent a huge sum on the August monthly electricity bills because of the FPA for June, which was beyond the ability of the members of the petitioning association as well as other consumers to pay.

The lawyer argued that all activities of the members of the association would stop due to the imposition of the said FPA on the electricity bills.

They argued that this province was endowed with immense hydroelectric potential and that the hydroelectric production of this province represented 58% of the total hydroelectric production.

The lawyers said that it would not be wrong to say that the production of this province was almost double what it actually consumed.

They argued that billing consumers in that province on the model of consumers at other Discos (distribution companies) violated Section 4 of the Constitution because the electricity generated in the province came from hydel sources.

The lawyer said the tariff for electricity generated from hydel was a mere Rs 1.03 per kWh, while after blending the same with electricity generated from other sources, the tariff has become very high.

Posted in Dawn, September 3, 2022

Eleanor C. William