LAHORE: The Lahore High Court Monday allowed National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), Water & Power Development Authority (WAPDA) and others to recover fuel adjustment charges from industrial units as per notification.
However, the court exempted domestic consumers using upto 350 units of electricity from fuel adjustment charges. The domestic consumers using more than 350 units would have to pay fuel adjustment charges, the court observed.
The court ordered respondents to refund money, if received from domestic consumers using upto 350 units.
The court also remitted the matter to NEPRA for consideration and directed to pass a reasoned speaking order on various issues raised through the petitions.
Justice Muhammad Khalid Mehmood Khan passed the orders while allowing hundreds of identical petitions filed in 2011 against the recovery of fuel adjustment charges.
The petitions were filed by Gulshan Spinning Mills, Rupali Polyester, various domestic consumers and others impleading WAPDA, NEPRA, and others.
The petitioners' through their counsels submitted that electricity was one of the biggest single component which alone constitute 50 % of their total cost of end product. Minor fluctuation in the electricity price affects the cost of production, they added.
The petitioners submitted that they had paid electricity bills for the month of April, May, June but the respondents acting retrospectively added 20% amount as fuel adjustment charges for months of April, May to the bill of October.
They submitted that the respondent electric companies took the action on basis of two notifications issued by the federal government on August 23, 2011 under added proviso S 31(4) of the Regulation, Generation, transmission, Distribution of Electric Power Act of 1997.
They submitted that the said provision was added as it was not provided in the original Act.
They contended that as per law no notification having adverse financial impact could be issued retrospectively.
The petitioners contended that the bills for the months of April, May had been paid, therefore, it was a close and past transaction and respondents were not authorised to receive fuel adjustment charges for said months.
They prayed the court to set aside fuel adjustment charges and notification issued in this regard besides restraining respondents from any adverse action against them.
However, the respondents argued that the notification issued for the recovery of charges was legal and pleaded the court to dismiss the petitions.
The court after hearing had reserved the verdict which was announced in open court today.
It is pertinent to mention that the court had already stayed the recovery of fuel adjustment charges from domestic consumers who use electricity upto 350 units.