SHC moved against loadshedding, tax collection through power bills

The Jamaat-e-Islami’s Karachi chapter on Wednesday filed a petition in the Sindh High Court (SHC) against “illegal” loadshedding, lack of power generation and collection of different taxes by K-Electric from its consumers through the electricity bills.

JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman and others said KE has failed to discharge its duty for providing uninterrupted electricity to the residents. They said the right to have electricity is an essential component of the right to life enshrined in the constitution.

They pointed out the lack of an independent mechanism to check if the electricity meters installed by KE provide the correct reading because only the power utility’s staff reads the meters. They said the Supreme Court and high courts have passed directions to KE to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the residents, but despite the orders, the power company “arbitrarily” conducts load-shedding just for “financial gains”.

The petitioners said the power utility has failed to stop load-shedding in the city, so the residents have been facing two to three hours of power cuts during night and day timings on a daily basis.

They said KE is also collecting charges in the name of fuel adjustment from its consumers without any forensic audit of fuel consumption. They requested the court to conduct a forensic audit of KE’s finances and restrain it from carrying out unannounced loadshedding in the city, especially during the night.

The petitioners sought an injunction against over-billing in the name of fuel adjustment charges and tax collection through power bills in the name of sales tax, general sales tax and TV licence fees.

Talking to the media at the SHC, Rehman said KE should be nationalised because it has failed to fulfil its agreement as regards power generation and uninterrupted supply. He said that other power companies should be allowed to work in the city to ensure a competitive market in electricity supply.

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