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July 9, 2020

Power utilities barred from charging tariff differentials

Business

July 9, 2020

KARACHI: The government has barred power utilities to charge tariff differential from consumers under the revised rules announced on Wednesday.

The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) notified the revised consumer service manual (CSM), which would also act as the code of conduct for the entire power sector supply chain.

The CSM, prepared through a thorough process, bars electricity companies from recovering differential amount from consumers, if the tariff was under-applied by the company.

“Application of a correct tariff is the responsibility of a distribution company. In case of application of wrong tariff, which is lower than the applicable tariff, no differential bill will debited against the consumer account,” said the manual. “However, if the applied tariff is higher than the applicable tariff, the consumer account will be credited with tariff differential for the whole period.”

Manual provides that all electricity theft cases would be dealt in accordance with Pakistan Penal Code, while electricity supplier will be authorised to recover its loss by raising a detection bill. However, the maximum period of charging in such cases will be restricted to 12 months for unregistered consumers and up to six months for registered consumers.

Distribution companies are advised to handle complaints in respect of new connections, meter reading and billing, electric supply failures and other matters relating to supply of electric power services expeditiously.

“The complainants will be given acknowledgement of the complaints with definite dates according to time frame for handling and redressal of such complaints,” the Nepra’s manual said.

The consumer service manual said special arrangements should be made for handling complaints of ladies, senior citizens and handicapped consumers.

Power distribution companies will take all the safety and security measures to avoid fatal/non-fatal accidents.

“The consumers shall be educated through all possible means to observe safety measures in order to avoid any casualty especially during the monsoon season,” said the manual.

Laying emphasise on the efficient use and conservation of electricity, the consumer service manual said the use of present day technology boosts the efficiency of energy systems — such as the super-efficient compact fluorescent lamps, light emitting diodes bulbs, etc. These bulbs yield pleasing light as conventional incandescent lamps while consuming less electricity. “There are many other proven ways to maintain and operate energy systems to save energy costs all the time, many of which are at low or no cost.”