The costly imported fuel is pushing the
government to pass on its full impact to the power consumers. The Central Power
Purchasing Agency (CPPA), on behalf of the power distribution companies
(Discos), has once again approached the National Electric Power Regulatory
Authority (Nepra) to allow the companies collect Rs6.10/unit additional from
the power consumers in their electricity bills of April 2022, as they paid less
than an actual cost of power generation in the month of January 2022.

According to the previous data, this is the highest-ever demand
for increase. Although it will be a one-time payment, it will disturb the
household budgets of millions of families.

The CPPA has asked the authority for the monthly fuel cost
adjustment (FCA) as it said that the fuel cost — oil and RLNG — were much
higher than what was charged from consumers. The total impact of the increase
will be translated into additional collection of around Rs60 billion.

Nepra has decided to hold a public hearing on the matter on Feb
28, 2022.

In its petition, the CPPA pleaded that it had charged consumers a
reference tariff of Rs6.5124 per unit in January 2022, while actual fuel cost
turned out to be more than the amount charged and hence it should be allowed to
increase the rate by Rs6.10 per unit.

According to the petition, the total energy generated in January
was 8,797 GWh at a total price of Rs107.5 billion, which is Rs12.2199 per unit.
Of the total, the net electricity delivered to Discos was 8420.73 GWh with transmission
losses of 330.85 GWh.

According to the data provided to Nepra, the most expensive
sources of energy generation including high speed diesel (HSD) and residual
fuel oil (RFO) were consumed more than previous months, which also jacked up
the total cost of generation, while the least expensive (renewable) share
reduced drastically during the month. Interestingly, the share of RLNG-based
power also reduced sizably.

The highest share of energy source in the total pie was of coal.
Power generated from coal was 2,916.7 GWh (or 33.15pc) with a cost of
Rs14.1049/unit. Its cost was also much higher due to price-hike in
international market. It was followed by local natural gas and nuclear sources
with 14.37 per cent (1264 GWh) each, while the gas charges were Rs7.747/unit
and nuclear was Rs1.075/unit.

Furnace-based electricity was generated of around 1238.11 GWh
(14.07pc) with a unit cost of Rs22.807. The energy generated from imported RLNG
was 626 GWhs or 7.12 per cent of total generation with cost of Rs16.703/unit.
HSD-based energy was generated of 592 GWh costing Rs25.98/unit. Interestingly,
due to normal water shortage in dams in winter, the share of hydropower
generation was only 512.94 GWhs or 5.83 per cent in January.

From Iran, 31.65 GWh or 0.36 per cent electricity was imported at
the cost of Rs15.007 per unit. From wind and solar, 194.88 GWh and 46.58 GWh
electricity was generated, respectively. From Baggasse, 107.13 GWh or 1.22 per
cent electricity was generated at the cost of Rs5.98 per unit.

It is to be noted that for the last several months, the regulator
has been allowing the DISCOs to collect additional amount from power consumers,
the reason being high cost of imported fuel for power generation.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) President and
National Assembly Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif has slammed the government
over Rs6 per unit electricity tariff hike, and demanded immediate reversal of
the increase.

In a statement issued here on Saturday, Shehbaz said raising the
already unbearable electricity tariffs was totally unacceptable. Imran Niazi
should not invoke wrath of God further as people have been cursing him due to
immense financial crisis, he said.

The PMLN president said that the brutal hike in petrol prices had
increased the prices of everything exponentially, including flour and sugar.
“The increase of Rs4 per litre in the petrol development levy on top of Rs12
per litre was another injustice to people. The government legislates in the
interest of the IMF, but makes lame excuses of not having two-thirds majority
when it comes to providing relief to people. Imran Niazi only knows how to give
relief to his ministers and to his allies, but not to people,” he said.

The opposition leader said the crude oil and oil import bill had
reached a record high of $11.7 billion in the first seven months of the current
financial year. He termed the sharp rise of 125% in energy imports a cause for
serious concern. He said the business community was upset and people were
helpless, but Niazi and his government were in state of complete denial.

“The Imran Niazi government knows only how to increase petrol
prices when oil prices go up in international market, but it turns a blind eye
when the prices decrease in the world markets. People of Pakistan have been
suffering for the past four years and the Niazi-led government has been busy
making lame excuses and minting money through corruption.

“The government has neither an intention nor the capacity to
provide relief to people. Only by getting rid of it the nation would get some
relief. The country and the people have gone bankrupt and the income of the
rulers has increased,” Shehbaz added.

Instead of controlling inflation, Imran was obsessed with
controlling opponents and critics, which is unfortunate. He promised that the
PMLN would fulfil its promise of ousting the tyrannical Niazi regime.


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