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Wednesday, October 5, 2022
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EditorialPrime minister's relief for power consumers

Prime minister’s relief for power consumers

After a couple of days, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced relief for power consumers in the wake of widespread protests across the country against inflated bills, consumers have moved the Supreme Court for a comprehensive policy for the federal government to resolve the woes of power consumers. The prime minister announced the withdrawal of fuel surcharge for lifeline consumers of upto 200 units. The measure must soothe the public, but its trickle-down has yet to be seen as assaulted by shamelessly inflated bills, electricity consumers across different cities had hit the roads against the fuel price adjustment and the collection of other taxes though the bills. It is too little and too late that the prime minister has taken strict notice of the growing complaints of excessive electricity bills and has vowed to resolve public complaints. He said he understands the anxiety of the people due to the sudden increase in electricity bills. Dear prime minister, anxiety is an understated expression; in fact, the bills inflicted unbearable shock to a majority of consumers. But the prime minister’s direction to the authorities to prepare an immediate and comprehensive report on public complaints on electricity bills is a welcome step. He also asked for possible recommendations to provide relief to the public, adding the ‘mismanagement’ of electricity bills will also be brought to the public. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has issued relief at a time when there is public shock over the excessive electricity bills in the whole country as demonstrations are taking place. People are protesting by tearing electricity bills and there are movements of non-payment of bills. Electricity generation has become an expensive production work in the wake of higher prices of LNG, furnace oil and coal in the world markets, but in Pakistan, extra taxes have increased than the actual cost of electricity. If someone has used electricity worth Rs5,000, their bill after levying taxes and FPA surcharge stands at Rs10,000 In the budget, the government had imposed a fixed tax on the traders to be collected through electricity bills, against which they threatened to strike. Their threats worked well and the government has removed fixed commercial tax from the bills of traders. Nepra has come up with a way to burden the people by having a unit of electricity costing more than Rs45 to the common consumer. This must not happen in the future.

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