The meeting will include briefings from the energy ministry and distribution companies

To discuss the issue of rising electricity bills, Caretaker Prime Minister Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar has summoned an emergency meeting at the Prime Minister’s House tomorrow.

The forum would include briefings from the Ministry of Energy (Power Division) and distribution companies, according to PM’s post on microblogging platform X — formally known as Twitter.

According to Kakar, discussions would also be held to provide maximum relief to consumers regarding inflated power bills.

The hike in power tariff triggered country-wide protests, including in major cities such as Karachi, Rawalpindi, Multan, Gujranwala, and Peshawar.

In Karachi, the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) held demonstrations at multiple places against the skyrocketing increase in power bills and what it said overcharging on part of the K-Electric (KE).

Meanwhile, in Rawalpindi, protesters gathered at Committee Chowk and burned bills while demanding that the government abolish imposed taxes on electricity.

In Peshawar, protesters called the increase in electricity bills unbearable and demanded relief from the government.

In Gujranwala, Protesters surrounded the Gujranwala Electric Power Company office in protest against expensive electricity.

Protests were also held in other cities, including Narowal, Attock, Sargodha, and Haripur, against high power bills.

In July, the then federal cabinet gave its go-ahead to a massive increase in the base tariff of electricity by up to Rs7.50 per unit against the national average tariff determination of Rs4.96 by the power regulator National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra).

The regulator had hiked the tariff to increase revenue collection for the loss-making power distribution companies (Discos) during the current fiscal year.

According to a Nepra statement, the revised national average tariff for the 2023-24 fiscal year has been determined at Rs29.78 per unit kWh, which is Rs.4.96 per unit higher than the previously determined national average tariff of Rs24.82.

While the regulator cited the rupee’s devaluation, high inflation and interest rates, the addition of new capacities and overall low sales growth as reasons behind the increase, it was actually hiked to meet one of the conditions set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of introducing structural reforms in the energy sector.

However, the applicable tariff would be much higher after including surcharges, taxes, duties and levies, besides monthly and quarterly adjustments.

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