ECC defers hike in power tariff

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on Tuesday postponed the decision on proposed increase in electricity tariffs until the next meeting.

It was expected that the ECC meeting, which was chaired by Finance Minister Asad Umar, would give go-ahead for a Rs 2 per unit increase in electricity prices. According to sources, the ECC had sought approval from Prime Minister Imran Khan for the price hike ahead of the meeting.

The ECC, however, directed the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) and the Power Division to present the policy for the next three to five years during the next meeting. According to reports, directives were issued to formulate a policy on collection of bills and a strategy to decrease line losses.

The committee also directed the Power Division to ensure that the poor and lower-end consumers should not be unnecessarily burdened while preparing the plan for any increase in the power tariff.

The meeting also decided not to recover circular loans from consumers, added sources.

In its last meeting, gas prices in the country were increased by up to 143 percent.

Following the meeting, Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar while addressing the media had said the majority of gas consumers would be subjected to a maximum 20 percent increase, while consumers using over 500 cubic meters would see an increase of up to 143 percent.

Moreover, the ECC had decided to lift all taxes imposed on Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and replaced them with a 10% GST.

Published in Daily Times, September 26th 2018.