Work on splitting power companies under way

Published: January 16, 2019
Senate body takes notice of K-Electric’s failure to install time-of-use meters. PHOTO: FILE

Senate body takes notice of K-Electric’s failure to install time-of-use meters. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Following expansion in the power distribution network, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government is working on a plan to split the distribution companies in order to better deal with the consumers.

Minister for Power Division Omar Ayub Khan on Tuesday told the Senate Standing Committee on Power that a committee was working on splitting the distribution companies in an attempt to create more firms to efficiently handle the network, which had been expanded now.

He said work on splitting the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco), Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco), Multan Electric Power Company (Mepco) and Tribal Areas Electricity Supply Company (Tesco) was under way and the committee would present its recommendations in that regard.

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He emphasised that there had been major developments in relation to the renewable energy policy and the country would be able to generate 30% of electricity from renewable resources in 2030. The committee noted that despite Nepra directives in 2016, K-Electric had failed to install time-of-use (ToU) meters, which would enable consumers to consume electricity economically and reduce their bills.

By not installing these meters, the utility had deprived domestic and commercial consumers of their right and burdened them with high charges, the meeting noted.

Committee Chairman Senator Fida Muhammad Khan asked as to why K-Electric did not install these meters. Responding to that, a company official said the meters had been regulated for the industrial consumers.

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Nepra had asked K-Electric to install ToU meters for the consumers using power load of 5 kilowatt-hours (kWh) and more, but due to financial constraints, the company provided the facility to the industrial sector only.

Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak said by installing the ToU meters, the power consumers in Karachi could get cheap electricity.

A Nepra official told the committee that K-Electric had taken stay order on the tariff notified by the authority. K-Electric had also challenged a Nepra’s decision which told the utility not to charge meter rent from the consumers.

The official complained that on every decision taken by Nepra, K-Electric took a stay order.

Khattak advised K-Electric and Nepra that it would be better to make an out-of-court settlement to resolve their issues. The chairman called both parties to the next meeting to discuss the issues in detail.

Khattak pointed out that the major issue was the absence of a free energy market. “If we want to develop this sector, the establishment of the market will be a must,” he remarked, adding that that they also had to establish an energy wheeling mechanism.

On the application of Reshma Power Generation Company seeking its conversion into an independent power producer (IPP) for 10 to 15 years, the Power Division official told the committee that the Supreme Court had scrapped the rental power plants and Reshma Power Generation Company was one of them.

Under the short-term IPP policy, in 2015, Reshma Power was allowed to start generation. Now, again it has asked for the status of IPP, but decision would be taken in accordance with the law and regulations, said Power Secretary Irfan Ali. 

Published in The Express Tribune, January 16th, 2019.

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