Power companies ordered to refund consumers Rs2.23 a unit for October

Power companies ordered to refund consumers Rs2.23 a unit for October Pakistan Press  Club Islamabad: The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) on Thursday ordered ex-Wapda distribution companies to refund Rs2.23 per unit to consumers for overcharging them Rs22 billion in October.   A public hearing presided over by Nepra Chairman Tariq Saddozai was informed that Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA) had reported actual fuel cost during October at Rs5.13 per unit as against Rs7.34 per unit reference cost set by the regulator because of lower actual fuel cost, better energy mix and low consumption. Mr Sadozai expressed the concern that the power sector authorities were continuously violating economic merit order and running expensive plants while cheaper ones were available for power generation. He said the regulator has repeatedly been raising the issue but in vain. Therefore, he ordered a written explanation should be sought from the relevant agencies.Responding to a question from the participants, the chairman said Nepra had not been intimated about a government decision to shut down furnace oil-based plants. General Manager CPPA Mohammad Ilyas, however, said these plants were closed due to slump in demand because of winter season. He said the power authorities had to shut even some gas-based plants as total demand plunged to 10,000-11,000 megawatts in recent days. An official that even though the regulator ordered refund of about Rs22bn, the distribution companies would pass on only half of the amount to consumers and retain about Rs11bn as windfall [...]