A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Power was held on Monday at Parliament Lodges, Islamabad. Chairman Committee, Senator Saifullah Abro chaired the meeting; that was attended by Senator SaifullahSarwar Khan Nyazee, Senator Zeeshan Khanzada, Senator Syed Shibli Faraz, Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi, Senator Fida Muhammad and senior officers of the Ministry of Power, NEPRA along with all concerned.
The Committee deliberated over numerous issues including the Regulation of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Power (Amendment) Bill, 2021; increase in Fuel Price Adjustment on Electricity Bills with respect to FATA, PATA and Mardan; Restoration of services of SDOs/ROs of PESCO; Merger of same organizations (AEDB & PPIB) working under Power Division and illegal reappointment of CEO,QESCO. In addition to the above, the Committee reviewed the implementation status of recommendations made by the Committee. Chairman Committee, Senator Saifullah Abro took serious notice of non-implementations of Committee recommendations.
Reviewing the Regulation of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Power (Amendment Bill, 2021) introduced by Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi, the Committee was informed that the proposed amendment is related to operational aspects of the utility business. According to the Ministry, regulation and legislation does not include operational level details, which are already in place. The Committee stood firmly against the penalization of innocent citizens who have been paying their dues regularly and said that strictest measures must be taken against those that don’t. The Department of Law representative stressed that according to law, bill payers cannot be treated on the same grounds as non-payers. The Committee decided to further discuss the matter in the next Committee meeting.
Deliberating over the plight Fuel Price Adjustment on Electricity Bills with respect to FATA, PATA and Mardan in particular to small industry owners; the Committee was of the view that with regards to FATA and PATA, concessions regarding taxes apply and hence must be ensured in this case. It was asserted that small industries must also be exempted, since these do not possess necessary cushion in terms of payments. Facilitation could include an easy instalment plan. It was decided that three instalment plans without surcharge will be paid. Decision regarding surcharge will be taken on a later date. The Committee unanimously decided and directed Chairman, NEPRA to amicably resolve this issue with the owners of small industries and submit a report in this regard to the Committee.
While discussing Restoration of services of SDOs/ROs of PESCO referred to the Committee by Honourable Chairman Senate, the Committee was informed that the matter was being investigated by FIA and NAB; and hence cannot be discussed on this forum. The Committee stressed the need for submission of details of Departmental action in this regard.
Taking up the matter of AEDB and PPIB merger, the Power Division showed enthusiasm and supported the measure greatly. Regarding illegal reappointment of CEO QESCO, the Committee was informed that a final decision regarding this matter by the High Court is awaited on the 28th February, 2022 and will be shared with the Committee as well.