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NA Committee shows serious concern on imposing 10pc surcharges on electricity consumers

Islamabad – The NA Standing Committee on Power has showed serious concern over the promulgation  of Ordinance empowering the government to impose up to 10 per cent surcharges on the electricity consumers and said that when panel had already cleared the Nepra amendment act 2021, then what was the need to promulgate the Ordinance.

The Standing Committee on Power which met under the Chairmanship of Chaudhry Salik Hussain, MNA deliberated on the Bill “The Regulation of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Power (Amendment) Bill, 2021” known Nepra Act. In the 2nd week of March, the NA committee through majority vote had passed the Nepra Amendment Act bill and had empowered the government to impose surcharges on the power consumers that would amount to 10 per cent of electricity cost or around 1.4 per unit.

However instead of getting Nepra Amendment Act bill approved from the parliament,  the government had promulgated it through Ordinance which has irked the committee. The committee pointed out by the members that the same Bill was cleared by the Standing Committee on Power in the previous meeting held on 10th March, 2021. It was told that the Bill is still pending, and during this time the Ordinance was promulgated and the same was referred to the Committee by the National Assembly. The committee expressed the apprehension that the wording of the Ordinance seems to be different from that that of the bill cleared by the Standing Committee. 

Committee also decided to have a comprehensive briefing on Power Plants’  privatisation in next meeting

Shazia Mari said that the electricity is already expensive and they will not allow the government to further increase it through Ordinances. Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah said that they are rejecting the Amendment in Nepra act through ordinance.

The committee asked that both the Bills be double checked regarding the similarity and Chairman Salik Hussain observed that the purpose of deliberating the Bill is to ensure the availability of funds to the government and resultantly the consumers be benefitted in the long run with the provision of cheap electricity. 

On the suggestion of members of the Committee, the Bill was deferred for the next scheduled meeting. “The Pakistan Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (No. XXV of 2019)”was discussed/deliberated by the Committee. The Chairman and other members of the Committee showed some reservations on the amendment proposed in the Bill, and asked the ministry to make it more comprehensive and encompassing. The members were also requested to give their input and suggestions on the proposed amendment. 

The Chairman CDA did not show up to brief the Committee on the important issue of issuance of new connections to the non-developed areas of Islamabad and region under Iesco. The Committee asked the officer of the CDA to convey their annoyance on the absence of Chairman CDA and decided to call him and CEO of Iesco to brief the Committee in the next scheduled meeting.  

The members of the Committee belonging to different constituencies complained about the loadshadding in their areas, and it was told the issue is being resolved. The reason behind this was the damage done to the Jam Shoro-Matyari line and maintenance done. It was also decided to have a comprehensive briefing on the privatizsation of Power Plants in the next scheduled meeting, and remarked that the employees of closed plants may be adjusted in functional power plants. A Sub-Committee was appointed to address the issues of Karachi Electric (KE), DISCOs and GENCOs of Sindh.

The meeting was attended by MNA Sher Akbar Khan, Ghulam Bibi Bharwana, Malik Anwar Taj, Muhammad Abdul Ghafar Wattoo, Saif Ur Rehman, Lal Chand, Engr Sabir Hussain Kaim Khani, Muhammad Israr Tareen, Saira Bano, Sardar Muhammad Irfan Dogar, Muhammad Afzal Khokhar, Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah, Shazia Marri, Secretary from M/o Power Division & Additional Secretary Finance and senior officers of the relevant departments.

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