SC stalls planned power tariff hike

supreme_court_buildingKATHMANDU, Sept 15: The Supreme Court on Monday has issued an interim order to authorities concerned not to enforce a planned power tariff hike until it gives final verdict.

Responding to a writ petition filed by advocate Bishnu Prasad Timalsina on behalf of the Forum for Protection of Consumer Rights Nepal, a single bench of justice Cholendra SJB Rana issued the interim order and asked the defendants including the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) and Electricity Tariff Fixation Commission among others to furnish written statements.

According to media reports, the commission on Sunday had decided to endorse an NEA proposal to hike power tariff by 13.7 percent with effect from September 17. However, the commission has yet to formalize the decision as three members of the six-member commission were not present during Sunday’s meeting.

The forum on Sunday moved the court arguing that NEA has already started official procedures for tariff hike ranging from 20 percent to 140 percent.

The petitioner has argued that the price hike would be against the provisions of the Electricity Tariff Fixation Commission Regulations, which state that tariff could be hiked only once a year and the hike should not be more than five percent.

Likewise, the petitioner has asked the court to issue mandamus order to implement the commission’s earlier recommendation to the NEA to limit the electricity leakage to the prescribed figure. The petitioner has also demanded an order from the court to the govenrment to set up an Electricity Regulatory Commission to hear consumers’ complaints and to regulate the NEA and the commission.

Arguing that the proposed tariff hike would adversely impact the lives of the consumers, the petitioner has demanded that the hike be limited to five percent.

Source : Republica