Balkh departments owe 200m afs in power arrears
MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Several government departments in northern Balkh province owe 200 million afghanis in unpaid electricity bills to Da Afghanistan Brishna Sherkat (DABS), an official said on Tuesday.
DABS chief for Balkh Mohammad Nasim Ganjai told a press conference regarding a recent hike in electricity rate here that from now on, electricity bills would be prepared in categories keeping in view power consumption.
About ten days ago, hundreds of residents of two districts --- Balkh and Dehdad --- and some areas of the provincial capital, Mazari-i-Sharif, arrived at the provincial council office, demanding a cut in electricity rate.
Earlier, the price of a kilowatt of electricity had been fixed at 6.25 afghanis in Balkh, but the rate was not acceptable to the governor’s house, residents and their representatives.
He said under the revised rates, consuming power from one kilowatt to 200kv would be charged 2.5 afghanis per kilowatt, from 102kv to 400kv 3.75 afghanis, from 401kv to 700kv 6.25 afghanis, from 701kv to 20000kv 8.75 afghanis and from above 20000kv only 10 afghanis per kv.
Ganjai said it was possible the power utility could suffer financial loss due to the revised rates, but the department was ready to embrace the loss for the sake to service to the people.
He said common people would benefit from the new rates, but those who consumed much electricity were likely to pay extra against the previous rates.
The provincial council through an official letter has asked the electricity department to review the tariff, otherwise it would have no right to collect payments from people or suspend electricity or fine them.
The DABS official Ganjai said several provincial government departments owed 200 million afghanis in unpaid bills to the power utility.
He said the Ministry of Finance had assured DABS that the arrears would be deducted from funds given to departments in annual budget and the money would be paid to DABS.
Balkh provincial council chief Dr. Fazl Hadid welcomed the revised electricity rate, but said they would continue consulting with people regarding the issue.
A resident of Mazar-i-Sharif, Mohammad Rafique, said though the tariff in Balkh province now matched charged in other provinces, the bill should be dispatched on monthly basis.
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