ISLAMABAD: The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) on Friday imposed Rs21 million fine on the Gujranwala Electric Power Company (Gepco) on a charge of negligence, resulting in fatal incidents from July 2019 to May 2021.

The regulator said in a statement that it received reports about 13 deaths in different electrocution incidents during this period.

It constituted a two-member committee under Section 27A of the Nepra Act, 1997, which visited the relevant areas, conducted investigation and ascertained the facts and identified possible violations of laws, rules and regulations.

The committee’s report revealed that eight out of 13 fatalities occurred due to Gepco’s negligence. The deaths included one Gepco employee and seven people from the general public.

Therefore, the regulator issued a show-cause notice to Gepco on September 2, 2021, under Section 27B of the Nepra Act, 1997, and later provided an opportunity of hearing to the Gepco management on October 13.

Based on the evidence available on record, submissions of Gepco and relevant provisions of the laws, rules and regulations, Nepra concluded that Gepco had failed to discharge its statutory obligations to maintain safety standards as laid down in the relevant laws, code and manual.

The regulator noted that Gepco had given a compensation of Rs4m to the family of its employee who lost his life in electrocution, but gave no compensation to the heirs of seven deceased persons from the general public.

Therefore, Nepra directed Gepco to compensate the families of the deceased from the general public equal to the amount given to the heirs of its deceased employee i.e Rs4m and share with it documentary evidence of payment. The authority has also directed Gepco to provide a job to the next of kin of each of the deceased family.

In another statement, Nepra said its Indicative Generation Capacity Expansion Plan approved in September this year envisaged a significant policy shift from dependence on ‘dirty and imported’ fuels to ‘clean and indigenous’ resources.

It said the plan required a total capacity addition of 32,477MW in the country over the next 10 years. Out of this, 11,203 MW of the capacity will be based on power plants driven by Solar and Wind Energy, including 7,533 MW (23.2pc of the total) of Solar projects and 3,670 MW (11.3pc) of Wind Power Projects.

Another 13,445 MW (41.4pc) capacity will be based on hydropower -- another renewable source of low-emission electricity -- besides the critical role these facilities play in irrigation, flood control and water supply. Bagasse-based power plants are expected to contribute 491 MW (1.5pc) to the planned generation mix.

The K-3 Nuclear Power Plant accounts for 1,145 MW (3.5pc) of the envisioned capacity addition which was also a unique source of electrical energy that does not release greenhouse gases into the environment. Finally, 1,000 MW (3.1pc) of electricity is set to be imported under the CASA-1000 project. This electricity is also based on clean hydropower.

Published in Dawn, December 25th, 2021

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