ISLAMABAD, Sept 24: Since the Ministry of Water and Power ostensibly failed to solve the controversy of the issuance of an electricity distribution licence to Bahria Town, the federal capital’s power utility company has moved Islamabad High Court seeking cancellation of the licence.
The court is set to take up the matter on Tuesday.
In its petition, the Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) maintained that Bahria Town cannot sell electricity in the Iesco domain and the issuance of the licence to the housing company in 2010 by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) was illegal. It may be noted that after introducing certain changes to the licence issued to Iesco for 22 years in 2001, Nepra had granted approval to Bahria Town to sell electricity to the consumers in its township. Furthermore, the court was also requested to restore the licence of Iesco to the level of 2010.
When contacted, Iesco’s legal counsel Amina Sohail confirmed the filing of the petition and said its hearing would be in the court of Justice Mohammad Azam Khan Afridi. About the controversy, she said Iesco had also filed an application against Bahria Town and Nepra in May 2011, which was withdrawn on June 10, 2011, on the assurance of Bahria Town that the controversy would be resolved with the help of some neutral player. She said both Iesco and the Bahria Town later decided to appoint the then federal secretary water and power as an arbitrator to resolve the controversy. “Unfortunately, one long year passed but the controversy of the power distributing licence could not be resolved.” She said after failing to get the issue resolved, Iesco approached the IHC for an amicable and durable solution.
Documents available with Dawn showed that a resident of Bahria Town, Engineer Iftikhar, had got registered a complaint with Nepra against disconnection of his electricity supply in 2005. It was unearthed at that time that Bahria Town was involved in illegal sale of electricity to the consumers as it never had got any power distribution licence from Nepra.
According to the documents, at the time of the issuance of the licence, Shaukat Ali Kundi, member Nepra, wrote in his dissenting note that “M/s Bahria Town Private Limited (BTPL) is a category ‘C’ consumer of Iesco and is engaged in the resale of electricity to residents of its township, and this is also in the knowledge of Iesco. This activity of M/s BTPL is against the explicit provisions of law because it does not have a distribution licence for undertaking the activity, hence guilty of breach of Section 21(2) of the Regulation of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Act (XL of 199).”
When contacted, the legal counsel for Bahria Town, Qaisar Qadeer, said he had not yet read the petition filed with the IHC. He said as a regulatory body, Nepra had the right to issue a power distribution licence. He showed his surprise why Iesco had remained silent on the issue of distribution licence during last two years.