As Supreme Court mounts pressure, Gov’s takes back hike in power tariff

Friday, October 4th, 2013 1:05:47 by

The PML-N government which had earlier adamant not to withdraw decision of hike in the power tariff Friday told the Supreme Court that it is withdrawing a notification.

Ministers have earlier ruled out possibility of any change in its decision despite widespread condemnation of the increase by the PML-N govt.

However the situation was changed on Friday in view of a possible order by the apex court.

The decision was taken during the hearing of suo-moto notice case in Supreme Court .

The Supreme Court had sought written reply from Ministry of Water and Power for the re-assessment of electricity prices.

During the hearing‚ Attorney General Munir A. Malik said NEPRA fixes the electricity prices and issues the new notification.

Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif told the apex court that electricity production decreases in winter due to increase in domestic gas usage and decrease of water in rivers.

The court adjourned the hearing for two weeks.

On September 30 the government had announced that the electricity tariff for residential consumers would be increased by Rs5.89 per unit on those people who consume 201-300 units of electricity and by Rs 3.67 per unit on those who consume 301-700 units of electricity. The increase in electricity tariff was one of the requirements of the loan deal the government struck with the IMF.

The Supreme Court on October 1 took notice of the increase in electricity tariff. A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Chaudhry had asked the government to submit the new tariff notification to the court.

During a hearing on the issue, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said “the court will hold the government responsible if it fails to provide relief to the general public.”

He further added, “The government should make a policy addressing this issue and should not drag the court into it.”

Meanwhile Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali has said government has taken various initiatives including Neelum-Jehlum Hydro Power Project and Jhimpir Wind Farm to control energy crisis in the country.

Addressing a news conference in Multan today‚ he said government cleared circular debt of 480 billion rupees in difficult circumstances.

He says that 1700 megawatt of electricity has been added to the national grid.

The Minister of State said a forceful action will be taken against the power thieves.

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