Federation asked to submit reply on power tariff till Friday

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the federation to submit a written reply regarding the revised power tariff till Friday.

The directive was issued made by a three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja and Justice Gulzar Ahmed during hearing of a suo-moto case regarding prolonged and unannounced load-shedding in the country.

During the hearing, Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif and Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Munir A Malik appeared before the court.

Khawaja Asif informed the bench about issues being faced by the ministry such as non-payment of bills and gave the example of Peshawar where, according to him, only 3 per cent consumers were paying bills.

The Chief Justice maintained that federation should help provinces to collect revenue.

The bench directed the federal government to take strict action to end power theft rather than shifting the burden on masses. Munir Malik informed the court that National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) was an autonomous body adding that if the government goes on the advice of NEPRA, per unit price would have been Rs. 14.

The bench was of the view that the court did not want to intervene in governmental affairs and the government should resolve the tariff issue on its own and review the notification. The court also questioned the legal position of September 30 notification for increase in electricity rates.

Later, the court directed the government to submit a written reply regarding tariff review by Friday and adjourned further hearing till then.