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LAHORE: Khyber Pakhtunkhawa has urged the federal government to immediately negotiate and finalise energy purchase agreements (EPAs) for its four hydropower projects so that they could be connected with the national grid.

The hydropower projects, of which EPAs are yet to be negotiated and finalised, include 17MW Renolia, 36MW Daral Khwar, 18MW Pahur and 2.6MW Machai.

Though the KP government had earlier accused the federal government for not issuing NOCs for the aforementioned projects, it did not make public details related to delays in EPA and other important matters about these projects.

However, the federal government in response to these allegations held the KP government responsible for not seeking NOCs in advance in this regard.

While explaining the current status of the projects, a senior official mentions the 17MW Renolia project, recently completed, is awaiting energy meters yet to be installed due to some technical issues between the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) and Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco).

“Nepra has approved tariff for this project, but its EPA is yet to be negotiated. The Central Power Purchase Agency (CPPA-G) has told the KP government to start negotiation on EPA after finalising the EPA of 18MW Pahur HPP,” the official explained while talking to Dawn on Tuesday.

He said the 36MW Daral Khwar project is near completion and will be ready soon. Nepra has also approved tariff of this project, but EPA has not yet been negotiated.

This process will be initiated after finalisation of the Pahur project’s EPA. 17MW Pahur, the official said, was completed since 2010 and Nepra also approved its tariff, but it continues to supply power to Pesco at the interim rate of Rs1 per KWH under a local agreement, signed between Pesco and and Pedo (Pakhtunkhawa Energy Development Board) in 2010. “The EPA for this project is currently being negotiated with CPPA-G, but the pace is very slow,” the official added.

About 2.6MW Machai, the official said, was also completed by the KP government and connected to Pesco and is supplying power under a local agreement.

The EPA for this project, too, is yet to be negotiated and finalised by the CPPA-G. “Nepra has also approved tariff for this scheme. The project is also in trouble financially since Pesco is not making payment to KP government despite receipt of electricity,” he said.

When asked about the federal government’s stance on the issue, the official said the ministry of energy (power division) claims that the provincial governments, including the KP government, initiated projects without information or NOC from the related departments in Islamabad.

NOC for such projects is necessary to include them into power evacuation plans of the federal government. “Similarly many other small HPPs have been initiated in remote areas where transmission line cost is very high as compared to the project cost,” he said.

He said keeping in view the situation, some privately-funded small hydropower projects in the provinces have been put on hold for few months till preparation of the national electricity plan and energy policy. “Therefore, such projects will be processed soon after the energy plan and policy,” the official added.

He said that while the country was in need of energy, especially the cheapest hydel power, the government shouldn’t make the NOC an issue to connect these projects with the national grid. “NOC is a petty matter, as the government should immediately finalise the EPAs for these projects so that they could add power to national grid,” the official believed.

Published in Dawn, February 8th, 2018