HYDERABAD: The Hyderabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HCCI) on Sunday expressed strong reservations over the recent hike in power and natural gas tariffs. Reportedly, HCCI Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (HESCO) subcommittee Chairman Abdul Sattar Khan said that the significant increase in electricity bills and surcharge would certainly have adverse consequences for the industrial sector and domestic consumers. “This will multiply problems for small and medium enterprises as cost of production will increase, resulting in skyrocketing prices of products,” he said, adding that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were backbone of the State’s economy. “All over the world, SMEs are given concessions for benefitting the general public, but such enterprises would not help poor masses in Pakistan due to the increase in power and gas tariffs,” he said. He pleaded with the federal government to formulate effective policies in consultation with businessmen regarding SMEs. “Besides, frequent power outages of 8 to 10 hours by HESCO authorities have made it nearly impossible for trade and industry to continue their businesses in the region. He further alleged that the HESCO has once again started to charge high electricity detection bills to consumers to recover electricity theft and line losses. Later, he appealed to the Ministry of Water and Power to restrict HESCO officials from ‘harassing’ people, and take notice of electricity theft in the region, and safeguard constitutional rights of consumers and the business community. Published in Daily Times, October 15th 2018.