Government and Pesco response sought to fuel price adjustment petition

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday ordered the Federal Government and the head of the Peshawar Electric Supply Company to formally respond to a petition challenging ‘inflated’ electricity bills due to Fuel Price Adjustment (FPA) .

A bench consisting of Judge Roohul Amin Khan and Judge Syed Arshad Ali has set February 10 (Thursday) for the next hearing on the motion by Sajjad Ali and two other Mardan residents to declare the excessive charges illegal and unconstitutional.

He ordered additional attorney general Aamir Javed to submit responses on behalf of the respondents, including the secretary of the power division, the chairman of Wapda and the head of Pesco.

The bench also asked him to provide a copy of any judgment issued by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) on the matter.

Petitioners urge PHC to outlaw excessive FPA charges on electricity bills

The petitioners claimed that Pesco consumers had received greatly inflated electricity bills in the current month with the FPA, which were almost twice as high as the original electricity consumption bill.

They said the cost of electricity was well below the APF, which was added to the original bills.

The petitioners also requested an interim measure from the court in the form of the suspension of the imposition of FPA in the monthly invoices until the decision on the petition. They attached several electricity bills to their petition.

The defendants in the petition are the president of Wapda, its managing director (operations), the managing director of Pesco, the secretary of the electricity division and the chairman of the board of directors of Pesco.

Lawyers for the claimants, including Noor Alam Khan and Shabina Noor, said that if a consumer consumed electricity up to Rs 2,000, he would receive an electricity bill of Rs 4,500, of which Rs 2,500 was as than FPA.

They claimed that irate electricity consumers had visited Pesco offices in different sub-divisions with inflated bills for correction, but to no avail.

The lawyer said consumers also staged protests in which they demanded the government reduce the FPA tax as it was an injustice to consumers.

They said the protests had led to road closures and traffic disruptions hampering motorists and commuters.

The lawyers said overcharging the population instead of the actual cost of electricity consumption was an unconstitutional act on the part of the government.

They said issuing inflated bills was a violation of fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution and it was for the High Court to check such unconstitutional acts.

Posted in Dawn, February 9, 2022

Eleanor C. William