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Monday May 27, 2024

Nepra, KE told to issue revised bills to textile, leather exporters

By Jamal Khurshid
April 05, 2023

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has directed the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) and K-Electric to issue revised electricity bills to textile and leather exporters for the month of March in accordance with the concessionary rate of Rs19.99/kW.

The court also restrained KE from taking any coercive action against the petitioners, including power disconnection. The orders came on the petitions of textile and leather exporters who challenged the discontinuation of the concessionary ZRI (zero-rated industrial) package by the Ministry of Energy (Power Division). The petitioners’ counsel said the federal government had fixed concessionary rates for electricity consumption by the textile and other industries at Rs19.99/kW with effect from October 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023.

He said the Centre arbitrarily withdrew the concessionary notification from March 1, thus violating the vested right of the petitioners who had made huge investments and obtained export orders in accordance with the concessionary rate. The withdrawal has adversely affected the petitioners’ industries and export as well, he added. He said the vested right could not be withdrawn retrospectively to the disadvantage of the petitioners, and requested that the impugned withdrawal of the concessionary rate be declared illegal. KE had issued the petitioners electricity bills for March charging an increased rate, he added.

The counsel said the petitioners are willing to pay the electricity charges in accordance with the concessionary rate, while the remaining amount will be deposited to the court’s Nazir in the form of pay order or bank guarantee. The court issued pre-admission notices to Nepra and KE, directing them to file comments on the petitions.

The court directed the KE to issue revised March bills to the petitioners in accordance with the concessionary rate, granting that the remaining amount would stay with the Nazir until the next hearing. It also restrained KE from taking any coercive action against the petitioners.