ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Standing Committee on Energy, Power Division, on Monday expressed serious reservations on amendments proposed for the Nepra Act for providing vague procedures for imposition of surcharges on power rates.
The committee, led by Chaudhry Salik Hussain, took up for discussion “The regulation of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Power (Amendment) Bill, 2020” commonly known as Nepra Act, and noted that vague procedures had been envisaged to impose various surcharges and the utilisation of funds generated through these surcharges.
The committee directed that no new surcharge should be levied upon the masses and if it was to be done, there should be a rationale, to be presented before the committee and to the public. “What is the fault of consumers that surcharge is being levied on them,” said the chairman of the committee, adding that the committee “will not allow the levying of surcharges on electricity bills”.
Omer Ayub, Shazia Marri have a heated argument over Discos performance
The energy minister said surcharges were unavoidable to ensure uniform tariff that would help resolve the issues in Discos (distribution companies). The bill was deferred to the next meeting with the directive that a comparative briefing should be sent to committee members.
Officials of the Power Division asked timeline for amendments in “The regulation of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Power (Amendment) Bill, 2020” under various agreements with the lending agencies.
Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) member Shazia Marri said that the government might have a deadline from outside for the Nepra Amendment bill, but “we have a deadline only with the masses”.
There was an exchange of hot words between Energy Minister Omer Ayub and Ms Marri on the issue of Hesco/Discos performance.
Mr Ayub claimed that the Sindh government had not helped in the evacuation of water from Hesco areas. He alleged that funds were misappropriated in Sindh instead of water evacuation. Ms Marri replied that blaming Sindh would not fix Hesco.
Mir Khan Mohammad Jamali said that injustice was being done to Balochistan as officers from other provinces were being recruited in Qesco on the province’s quota he alleged.
The ministry was asked to strictly adhere to the provincial quota requirements for minorities and disabled persons while filling vacant posts in Discos. The ministry will be giving briefings on Generation and Transmission, Distribution and Merit order and Circular Debt Management Plan in the upcoming meetings of the Standing Committee.
The energy minister informed the committee that Pesco, Hesco, Sepco and Qesco were biggest loss-making Discos.
The meeting appointed a sub-committee to discuss and recommend measures for resolving issues faced by legislators with respect to Karachi Electric (KE) and different Discos of Sindh under the convenership of Lal Chand, MNA.
Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2020