ACCORDING to press reports, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) has expressed its inability to directly notify consumer-end tariffs unless the government takes a broader constitutional-cum-policy decision to have different electricity rates in provinces and regions.
Punjab and Kyber Pakhtunkhwa want that the subject of electricity be transferred to provinces after amending the Constitution.
At present the federal government is providing about a Rs125-billion subsidy for maintaining a uniform tariff across the country because the average electricity tariff worked out by Nepra for five Punjab electricity distribution companies is about Rs8 per kWh, unit Rs12 per kWh for Balochistan and Rs13 per kWh unit for Sindh.
In the 18th Amendment, electricity had been included in the federal legislative list whereas oil and gas have been transferred to the provinces.
So the power generation plant based on diesel and gas will be paying small prices in Karachi than in Punjab and KP because of higher transportation charges. The only solution to the acute loadshedding problem and energy shortage is that the government should allow the private sector to generate and supply energy to the consumer directly.
The Competition Commission of Pakistan should ensure that there is fair competition among the companies responsible for producing and selling electricity to consumers.
Nepra should help sustain the consumers’ interest in having electricity at affordable prices. After privatisation of electricity production and distribution, theft and corruption will also be minimised.
At present the government exercises monopoly over electricity distribution which is against the laws of competition and free market.
Direct investment in the energy sector is badly needed. Once the energy sector is privatised, there will be a huge investment from foreign multinational companies which are in energy business.
ENGR. S. T. HUSSAIN Lahore Cantt