Electricity prices are already at an unsustainable rate. To further aggravate the public’s misery, K-Electric wants to increase the margin and would aspire to a further increase. He submitted a request to the regulatory authority to increase the unit cost by 5.50 rupees under the guise of fuel adjustment charges. This is downright unacceptable and it is only a ploy to replenish its coffers to the detriment of consumers. The utility company has long been accused of falling short and penalizing its valuable consumers with inadequate infrastructure, poor transmission and abrupt and prolonged power disruption.
The pretext to pass on the load, under the pretext of the increase in the cost of raw materials in the international market, becomes a laborious affair and devoid of rationality considering the services rendered in the end. Moreover, the same logic is not applied when oil prices collapse on the index. Last but not least, there are countless other charges and adjustments that have been inserted into the bill under various headings, and even not prescribed, that continue to pinch the consumer through no fault of their own. This illogical and unfair billing calculation must stop. Rates are subject to the value of the services, so what good is paying under thin pretexts to keep the business afloat!
NEPRA, the national electricity regulator, is expected to drop the K-Electric dash to raise tariffs. Rather, it should be reminded of its primary responsibility to provide unimpeded supply to the Karachiites. All the utilities in Pakistan need to reorient their buildings and services, with the explicit aim of improving efficiency. A word on K-Electric’s monopoly is overdue. Why are other competitors not showing up in an attempt to completely expand the choice and services? If mobile phone companies can proliferate, why not more power supply units? Likewise, the automated introduction of prepaid electricity chips is nowhere to be found despite attempts to introduce it. K-Electric should overhaul and offer value-added services rather than stealing under various tricks.
Posted in The Express Tribune, December 25e, 2021.
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