'K-Electric burdening national exchequer'

Senator says govt providing utility subsidised electricity, which has caused loss of Rs54b


APP December 24, 2019
PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak has said that the federal government is providing K-Electric with subsidised electricity, which had caused a total loss of Rs54.026 billion to the national exchequer in six months.

Speaking at the Senate Standing Committee on Power, he gave a brief presentation on the difference between electricity tariffs set by the government and the one followed by K-Electric that was increasing pressure on the circular debt.

Khattak alleged that K-Electric was not imposing the government’s tariff and Sindh was provided electricity at a tariff, which was Rs5.75 per unit cheaper compared to other parts of the country.

“K-Electric is being provided 650MW of electricity on reduced tariffs and therefore, it is not running its own plant to generate energy,” he added.

Khattak reportedly said that the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) and all the power distribution companies were silent over the matter. Committee Chairman Senator Fida Hussain inquired about the mechanism of the division (Ministry of Energy) to regulate and check the implementation of tariff by the private power producing companies.

Power Division additional secretary told the committee that K-Electric was a private entity and did not fall under the administrative control of the ministry, however, it was the mandate of the regulator (Nepra) to ensure the implementation of the tariff.

He said that the subsidy package had been withdrawn in this budget whereas the issue would be sorted out to ensure rule of law. A K-Electric spokesman told The Express Tribune that the utility’s tariff has been approved by Nepra and notified by the Ministry of Energy and making changes to the electricity tariff is out of K-Electric’s purview.

“Moreover, K-Electric has also approached the Ministry of Energy regarding the disparity in tariff charged to customers in Karachi against the uniform tariff policy applicable across Pakistan and awaits their response.”

Ministry officials were directed in the Senate panel meeting to make inquiries about overbilling in Rato Dero, Larkana by the Sukkur Electric Power Company and investigate complaints against misconduct by its executive engineer and sub-division officer with the local people.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 24th, 2019.

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