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KARACHI: Sindh High Court (SHC) has declared illegal a corrigendum dated 22.01.2020 retrospectively withdrawing and modifying the K-Electric's (KE's) tariffs notified through SRO 575(I) 2019 on May 22, 2019 after withdrawal of off-peak hours subsidies through SRO 810(I) 2019.

According to an order of SHC bench released here on Monday, court quashed the corrigendum, issued in excess of authority.

The industrial consumers of K-Electric engaged in the manufacture of steel and other large scale industrial products, having their factories located in the territorial limits of Karachi/Balochistan, where KE has exclusive monopoly of generation, transmission and distribution of electricity, granted to it under the Regulation of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Power Act, 1997 ("the Act") challenged the issuance and implementation of the corrigendum dated January 22, 2020 retrospectively withdrawing and modifying KE's tariffs notified vide SRO 575(l)/2019 dated May 22, 2019 after withdrawal of off-peak hour subsidies through SRO 810(l)/2019 dated 12 July, 2019.C also restrained K-Electric from enforcing the same in any manner whatsoever as it has resulted in a determination (higher than NEPRA's determined tariff) and it is not correcting any errors.

SHC ordered that industrial consumers of K-Electric to be charged tariff as per the left hand column (K-Electric Tariff) of SRO 575(l)/2019 dated 22.05.2019 as determined vide determination dated 05.07.2018 in respect of variable "off- peak hours" charges, and right hand column (Uniform Tariff) in respect of variable "peak hours" charges, as long as subsidy for "peak hours" provided through SRO 12(l)/2019 dated 01.01.2019 holds the field.

At any point in time when the "peak hour" subsidy is withdrawn, values shown in the right hand column would become meaningless and tariff will completely fall back to the left hand column (unless any new determination has taken the field), the court ruled.

The court ruled that SRO 810(l)/2019 dated 12.07,2019 is lawful as the federal government is solely competent to provide or withdraw any subsidy.

The court ruled that any sums charged and paid by the petitioners as per the rates specified in the corrigendum after deducting the rates provided in the left hand column (K-Electric Tariff) of SRO 575(l)/2019 as determined vide determination dated in respect of variable "off-peak hours" charges shall be refunded or adjusted towards the future bills.

The court ordered that petitioners who have not paid any previous bills or ISPA component for the period July-2019, to Jan-2020 be reissued bills for this period on the basis of the values provided in the left hand column (K-Electric Tariff) of SRO 575(l)/2019 dated 22.05,2019 as determined vide determination dated 05.07.2018 in respect of variable "off-peak" hours charges and be given a reasonable period to make payments as per the "foregoing."