ISLAMABAD: Senator Saifullah Abro presided over a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Power in Old PIPS Hall at Parliament Lodges in Islamabad.
The discussion about the month-by-month drop and increase in electricity bills issued by NEPRA under the pretext of fuel adjustment, which was brought up by Senator Kamran Murtaza in the House, started the meeting.
Rate for Members Engineer Maqsood Anwar Khan explained to the committee that the charge is tied to fuel and dispatch costs and is intended to cover future fuel tariffs. He stated that the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict has raised gasoline prices, which in turn had an impact on tariffs.
The irony, according to Senator Saifullah Abro, is that despite our payments to IPPs (Independent Power Producers), consumers cannot access electricity. He sought a full accounting of the causes contributing to this unanticipated rise in the LESCO Tariff.
Additionally, Senator Walid Iqbal brought up the case of Maqsood Ahmed, a deceased complainant from Muridke, Punjab, who was charged 41000 rupees for 82 units of power. He noted that the complainant’s relatives asserted that the man passed away from a heart attack a few days after receiving the bill.
He continued, “However, Bashir Ahmed was named as the complainant’s name in LESCO’s response. The complainant’s father, Bashir Ahmed, was implicated in electricity theft and was fined in accordance with NEPRA regulations, the CEO of LESCO (Lahore Electric Supply Company) informed the Committee.
Walid Iqbal, a senator, also questioned the inflated increase in May bills that are due in June. CEO LESCO responded by stating that the reason for the increase in bills is connected to usage, which increased in May because of the warm weather.
Regardless of social standing, according to senator Saifullah Abro, everyone involved in theft should be penalized. He also gave the CEO of LESCO instructions to look into the situation and report back to the committee at the subsequent meeting.
Senator Saifullah Abro, the chairman of the committee, has also brought up the issue of the incident at the Guddu thermal plant. He enquired as to the circumstances surrounding the occurrence and the length of time it would take to restore the power plant’s efficiency.
The inquiry committee, which consists of four people, has been constituted, according to GENCO (Central Power Generation Company Ltd.) officials, and it will complete its report in the coming days. The event will add 20 or 30 days to the maintenance that was already underway at the facility and that must be finished in 90 days.
Additionally, Senator Mushtaq Ahmed highlighted in the House the issue of fuel price adjustment charges in energy bills, which the Committee discussed in detail.
The matter was filed with the Peshawar High Court in October 2021, and the court rendered a decision on it on January 14, 2021, ordering the NEPRA to resolve it in 30 days, as Senator Mushtaq Ahmed informed the Committee.
The irony is that the matter is still pending before NEPRA despite the passage of a year and a half. Senator Saifullah Abro gave the Chairman of NEPRA instructions to listen to the concerns of both parties and resolve the situation quickly.
Second, Senator Mushtaq Ahmed brought up the issue of energy being unavailable in KPK. He said that despite KPK producing 7000 MW of power and having a demand of between 2800 and 3000 MW, the residents of the province are destined to live without it.
In accordance with the Pakistani Constitution, 13 percent. He stated that KPK’s part of the total generation must be distributed to the local population. The chairman of the committee instructed the head of NEPRA to give the province its fair amount of electricity.
Senator Saifullah Abro, however, also heard the complaints of QESCO (Quetta Electric Supply Company) and PESCO (Peshawar Electric Supply Company) on the lack of people, which demonstrates to be a serious barrier to their effectiveness.
The chairman of the committee advised that the ministry of power direct QESCO, PESCO, and other DESCOs that lack sufficient employees to hire personnel necessary for the efficient operation of the relevant DESCOs.
Additionally, the committee reviewed the matter of the outstanding suggestions in its meetings starting on February 23, 2022. Senator Saifullah Abro questioned the government about why the committee’s recommendations hadn’t been implemented yet.
He appeared upset over the extension given to KAPCO, whose tenure was set to expire in 2021 without the approval of NEPRA. He has also raised the issue of updated promotion guidelines for graduate engineers across all DESCOs.
The additional secretary informed the committee that since the committee’s recommendations, there hasn’t been a Board of Directors (BOD) meeting. The committee’s chairman gave the ministry of power fifteen days to submit a thorough report to the committee.
However, during a discussion of the Jamshoro Coal Power Project (Lot-I and Lot-II), Syed Jafri, CEO of Jamshoro Power Company Limited, told the committee that this plant will produce 1320 MW of electricity and that the total cost for both Lot-I and Lot-II will be 1270 Million USD, which is less than the Sahiwal and Port Qasim power plants.
He further stated that the Islamic Development Bank has cancelled the loan of $100 million USD for Lot-II since the effectiveness conditions had not been met. Senator Saifullah Abro argued that IPPs do not want public projects to be finished and that if IPPs have surplus power then why have they turned to public projects in an emergency?
Senator Fida Muhammad, Senator Saifullah Sarwar Khan Nyazee, Senator Zeeshan Khanzada, Senator Prince Ahmed Umer Ahmedzai, Senator Sana Jamali, Senator Haji Hidayatullah Khan, Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi, Senator Kamran Murtaza, Senator Walid Iqbal, and Senator Mushtaq Ahmed Khan all attended the meeting, along with representatives from the Power Division and its associated departments.