Power consumers to face higher costs as govt extends peak hours from July


ISLAMABAD – In an effort to meet the requirements set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the government has made a decision to extend the duration of peak hours for electricity usage with the new rules taking effect from July 1.

Peak hours refer to the times of the day when electricity demand is at its highest, and during this period, consumers are charged the highest rate per kilowatt-hour used.

The peak hours have been increased by two hours. Previously, they were from 6 pm to 10 pm, but now they will be from 5 pm to 11 pm.

For consumers using time-of-use meters, the electricity rate during peak hours from 5 pm to 11 pm will be Rs49.35 per unit, and after peak hours, from 11 pm to 5 pm, they will pay Rs33.3 per unit.

On the other hand, consumers with three-phase meters will now pay Rs50 per unit during peak hours instead of the earlier rate of Rs30 per unit.

This move is aimed at generating additional revenue to cover line losses and manage the power sector’s circular debt, as the government aims to collect more than Rs3 trillion from the public.

In addition to increasing power tariffs, petroleum rates, and income tax, the government has also directed the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) to devise a plan for raising gas rates, with plans indicating a potential increase of up to 50%.

These measures have been taken to comply with the IMF’s demands, but they have further burdened the masses as inflation remains at high levels.

To stabilize the economy, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) received $1.2 billion from the IMF recently as the first installment of a $3 billion bailout.

In addition to the IMF assistance, Pakistan received financial support from the UAE and Saudi Arabia, with $1 billion and $2 billion respectively, after the agreement reached between Islamabad and the IMF at the end of June, preventing the country from falling into a sovereign debt default.

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