ISLAMABAD, Sept 30: The government announced on Monday a sharp increase in electricity tariff for domestic consumers across the country.
For one category of consumers, using 100 to 300 units a month, the increase will be by an unprecedented 210 per cent.
A senior official told Dawn that the government had spared people consuming less than 200 units per month.
According to him, the average tariff increase of 30pc will generate an additional revenue of Rs175 billion.
With this increase, the government has met a commitment made to the International Monetary Fund to jack up power tariff in two phases to reduce power subsidies by Rs396bn.
In the first phase power rates were increased on Aug 1 for commercial and industrial consumers.
The rates for ‘lifeline consumers’ using less than 50 units per month have been kept unchanged at Rs2 per unit. Likewise, the tariffs of Rs5.79 for 1-100 units and Rs8.11 for 101-200 units have also remained unchanged.
The government has allowed only one-slab benefit when consumption moves into the higher slab of above 300 units per month. The average increase is more than 35pc after including 17pc GST.
The tariff for 101-300 units per month has been increased by 72.6pc (Rs5.89 per unit) to Rs14.
Consumers in this category will not get the benefit of lower slab of Rs5.79 per unit and their electricity bills will effectively increase by almost 100pc.
For example, the monthly bill of a consumer of 300 units, which earlier stood at Rs3,436, will go up by 87.5pc to Rs6,442, including taxes.
The consumers in this category will be the hardest hit because they are in the lower income group, using two fans, a fridge, a television and a couple of lights.
The rates for the category consuming 301-700 units per month has been increased by about 30pc (Rs3.67 per unit) to Rs16 per unit.
This category will get the benefit of previous slab (101-300 units), but not of the first slab.
Hence, the effective increase for this category will be of more than 140pc.
The tariff for consumers of more than 700 units has been increased by 19.44pc to Rs18 from Rs15.07 per unit.
They will get the benefit of previous slab (301-700 units). They will be charged at Rs16 per unit for first 700 units and Rs18 for above 700 units.
According to an expert on matters relating to tariff, the monthly bill for consumers in the category of 100 to 300 units goes up by 210pc because they will not get the benefits of first three slabs.
The rates for sanctioned load of over 5 kilowatt and above have been raised by 29pc to Rs18 per unit for peak-hour consumption and for off-peak by 52pc, from Rs8.22 Rs12.50 per unit.
A senior official at the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority said the government appeared to have made a mistake by withdrawing the slab benefit to consumers in the category of 101-300 units.