Power generation policy: Provinces disagree with centre over some features

Want their concerns addressed, ministry official gives assurance.


Zafar Bhutta May 20, 2015
In the new policy, guarantees will be given by the federal government for power purchase. STOCK IMAGE

ISLAMABAD: Provincial authorities have lodged a formal protest with the federal government after a notification on the new power generation policy, complaining that they have been ignored.

While demanding a withdrawal of the notification, officials familiar with the development said the provinces lodged the protest in the Inter-Provincial Coordination Committee (IPCC) meeting held on May 6. Chief ministers of Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan lamented that the power generation policy was notified without addressing their concerns.

However, a senior official at the Ministry of Water and Power said all provinces had agreed on the policy’s salient features, adding that the issue was arising out of the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in power projects.

The other version

On the other hand, officials said that the three chief ministers complained over issuance of the Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO) on power generation policy on April 3, 2015 and demanded its withdrawal. They claimed that the amended draft of the policy was circulated by the ministry on March 31, 2015 but was notified without waiting for the feedback from provinces.

Stressing on ‘being left out’, provinces have said that there is disagreement on certain provisions of the policy.

During the meeting, the official at the water and power ministry was asked to have further discussions on the policy. The official assured that every effort will be made to accommodate provincial observations. It was also stressed that all stakeholders would be satisfied in order to reap the benefits of the policy at a national level.

The power ministry official suggested that, while incorporating provincial concerns, the amended SRO can be notified. Balochistan chief minister emphasised that the situation needs rectification and provincial consent on the policy is necessary.

The issue would be taken up in the upcoming IPCC meeting.

In the new policy, guarantees will be given by the federal government for power purchase while provinces and the power purchaser would have to bear hydrological risk of hydroelectric power projects.

The Council of Common Interests (CCI), in its meeting held on March 18, had approved in principle the new power generation policy that ensures water use charges payable to the provinces by producers for hydropower generation. In the new policy, Water Use Charge (WUC) has been enhanced from Rs0.15 per kwh to Rs0.425 per kwh.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2015.

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