Accountability cases: Ministry reluctant to utilise idle power plants

Published: January 20, 2017
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A committee had been constituted, headed by the finance minister, to explore the possibility of resolving the issues related to the idle power plants. PHOTO: FILE

A committee had been constituted, headed by the finance minister, to explore the possibility of resolving the issues related to the idle power plants. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has complained to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that cases filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) have discouraged officials of the Ministry of Water and Power from utilising the power-generation capacity of idle plants.

In a high-level meeting chaired by the premier, it was revealed that NAB had filed a number of references against the 96-megawatt Reshma Power Generation (Private) Limited and 64MW Gulf Power Generation Company Limited. Therefore, these power projects were not being pursued for electricity generation.

Dar pointed out that NAB had cleared machinery and equipment of these power plants and there was no bar on the use of the machinery. However, he said, cases against former officials of the Ministry of Water and Power were still pending, which made current officers of the ministry reluctant to push ahead with utilising the idle power-generation capacity.

Water and Power Secretary Younus Dagha echoed the views of the finance minister, saying power ministry officials were concerned because of NAB proceedings against the officials previously posted in the ministry.

He said a committee had been constituted, headed by the finance minister, to explore the possibility of resolving the issues related to the idle power plants.

The Ministry of Water and Power had prepared a plan for the utilisation of idle power plants for review of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), which also approved it.

Dagha revealed that issues related to the 126MW Saba Power Company had been addressed and the plant had become operational.

Regarding Fatima Energy Limited, which had 120MW power generation capacity, he said the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) had determined its tariff. However, the company has filed a case against the tariff.

The government is also negotiating a power purchase agreement with the company, which is being persuaded to withdraw the court case.

Among other power plants, tariff petitions of Southern Electric Power Company and Japan Power Generation Limited were pending adjudication by Nepra.

The meeting was told that the ECC had approved a policy directive to Nepra for the determination of a uniform tariff for captive power plants based on furnace oil, gas, bagasse, coal, etc.

After the tariff determination, all power distribution companies will publish an advertisement in media for offering the tariff to the captive power plant owners for the summer of 2017 and 2018.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 20th, 2017.

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Reader Comments (1)

  • cautious
    Jan 20, 2017 - 7:50PM

    Good example that cost does matter — these power plants are so expensive that they likely lose money operating at the current utility/power rate. My guess is that the new CPEC power plants are going to run into the same problem. Recommend

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