Hundreds of people on Monday took to social media to express their anguish over the issuance of inflated electricity bills for the month of August despite hours-long power outages.
Power consumers, especially the domestic ones, have sought immediate withdrawal of increases in various taxes and additional burden being put through fuel charges adjustments — a system by which the price of electricity is adjusted as fuel prices fluctuate — so that they get relief at a time when they are facing the highest inflation rate.
The people were shocked after receiving their bills this month as it included a hefty amount on account of fuel charges adjustment for the month of May and June.
The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) earlier this month raised the power tariff by Rs11.10 per unit for K-Electric consumers on account of fuel charges adjustment for June 2022.
However, it had notified that out of a total FCA of Rs10.11 per kWh, an amount of Rs3.01 per kWH shall be charged in the billing month of August and Rs8.09 per kWh in the billing month of September.
Meanwhile, Rs6.89 was charged on account of FCA for the month of May — as NEPRA approved FCA of Rs9.52 which was also divided in two parts Rs2.63 was charged in July bills while the rest of them is being charged in August bills.
Registering his protest on the micro-blogging website, a consumer Ghufran Ahmed shared the picture of his bill adding that is Rs5,369 charged under fuel adjustment charged is “impossible to be paid”.
“Just look at the amount of taxes which are imposed on us,” he wrote.
Another user lambasted Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his cabinet for imposing hefty amounts on account of FCA and sales tax in the electricity bills. “FCA and sales tax in the bill is one and a half times more than the consumption of electricity…this oppression on people will destroy the government,” he warned.
Meanwhile, this wasn’t the case for Karachiites only, consumers of other power distribution companies, including Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO), also complained about a similar issue.
A Twitter user residing in the federal capital shared images of his electricity bill for the month of August and questioned the authorities concerned regarding this “blunder of imposing more under FCA.”
“Last month I was travelling, still according to this IESCO bill will used 168 units. Fuel price adjustment is almost three times the actual bill,” a user shared.
A person also shared that while he consumed 100 units less in August; however, he was charged Rs1,000 more than the last month.
Amid thousands of other complaints, Muhammad Uzair Shahid criticised the government for not taking action. “They are looting citizens of Karachi and no one bats an eye,” he wrote.
“The house remained empty for a month; however, we have received a bill worth Rs19,614 instead of Rs2,300… this is really painful,” an IESCO consumer lamented.
What is FCA?
Fuel charges adjustment is a system by which the price of electricity is adjusted as fuel prices fluctuate.
The fuel prices in Pakistan reflect global oil prices. And because electricity-producing companies in Pakistan import fuel, power sector regulator NEPRA has to set the price of electricity according to fluctuations in fuel prices.
Therefore, if the price of oil goes up, the fuel cost adjustment charges also increase.
According to the power regulator, the actual increase or decrease in fuel cost prices has to be adjusted in customers’ monthly bills in the form of FCA.
Moreover, other factors that contribute to the decision regarding FCA include:
- Depreciation of rupee
- Lack of availability of fuel for thermal generation
- Negative changes in the sales tax mix
- Technical and managerial damage in the distribution of electricity in certain areas
PM Shehbaz takes notice
Amid constant backlash, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif took strict notice of public complaints regarding inflated electricity bills.
The premier has directed authorities concerned to submit a detailed report immediately on electricity bills. “I will not sit peacefully until people’s grievances are resolved,” he said while chairing an emergency meeting today.