The Government's Dramatic Shift on Electricity Prices: From Protest to Perpetuation

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Hyderabad: 18 June 2024: Not long ago, the very leaders now in government would vigorously protest even the slightest increase in electricity prices, rallying the public against rising costs and government inefficiencies. How times have changed.

Fresh off unleashing a slew of tax hikes burdening the struggling populace, authorities have now decided to further drain wallets by significantly raising electricity tariffs. Reports reveal NEPRA's move to boost the national base tariff by nearly 20%, ensuring distribution companies pocket an additional half a trillion rupees next fiscal year.

The average cost per unit of electricity, which stood at Rs27.78, will skyrocket to Rs35.50 from July 1. This hefty increase, coupled with various taxes, surcharges, fuel adjustments, and operational costs, leaves ordinary citizens bearing the brunt.

They not only foot the bill for electricity generation and maintenance but also pay for capacity charges promised to power companies by previous governments, alongside losses from theft and transmission inefficiencies ignored for years.

In practical terms, middle-class consumers will now shell out between Rs65-72 per unit monthly. Meanwhile, the government plans to flaunt this revenue boost to secure more IMF loans, propping up a failing system a little longer.

Adding insult to injury, the same government grants industrial giants a Rs10.69 per unit discount to 'boost competitiveness', epitomizing crony capitalism. While wage earners struggle to stretch shrinking incomes amidst relentless inflation, big businesses enjoy subsidized electricity, bolstering profits while contributing minimally in taxes.

Clearly, the government's disconnect from people's hardships is profound. Its fiscal strategy overlooks tax evaders, opting instead for easy fixes, coasting along until its tenure ends.

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