Senate Standing Committee reviews Power related affairs

The chairman of the committee directed the concerned authorities to review the policy in this regard and submit suggestions in the next committee meeting

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Islamabad (VOM): A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Power was held under the chairmanship of Chairman Committee Senator Saifullah Abro here at Parliament Lodges.

The question raised by Senator Syed Muhammad Sabir Shah in the Senate session regarding heavy transmission lines passing through Ghazi Tehsil of Haripur District was discussed in detail. The Additional Secretary, Ministry of Energy (Power Division) informed the committee that as per the existing policy, the owners of the land through which the transmission lines pass are paid a reasonable lump sum amount. He added that any construction near the transmission lines is prohibited.  Senator Syed Sabir Shah said that due to heavy transmission lines people’s land becomes permanently useless on which they can neither do any construction nor the land can be used for agriculture. Authorities should buy the land from the people or pay a reasonable royalty to the people.  Senator Saifullah Sarwar Khan Niazi emphasized that the royalty should be paid in proportion to the revenue generated from electricity so that the people could have a source of regular income. The Additional Secretary Power Division said that the existing law needs to be amended to introduce a new policy. The chairman of the committee directed the concerned authorities to review the policy in this regard and submit suggestions in the next committee meeting. Regarding the recent load shedding in the country, the chairman of the committee questioned the Secretary Power Division that we are being told  that the country has surplus electricity producing capacity, then what are the reasons for the current load shedding?  Officials informed that Pakistan’s power generation capacity is about 38,000 MW But due to non-supply of fuel and RLNG, many power generation plants have been shut down. The country’s current power generation is about 18,500 MW, officials said. The Additional Secretary Power further said that the demand for electricity has increased by 38% in April this year as compared to the previous year. The chairman of the committee said that while procuring RLNG, care should be taken to deal with suppliers who do not default when there is price hike. The chairman of the committee said that the amount of performance guarantee should be such that the supplier could not default. The Additional Secretary Power Division gave a detailed briefing to the committee on the project for rehabilitation of licensed public sector power generation plants under Genco Holding. Explaining about the construction and repair of 747 MW (GT-14) plant, action against the concerned officers / personnel and BOD of GHCL and GENC0, the Additional Secretary Power Division said that in the light of the inquiry report, the Ministry has instructed that the CEO be suspended. The chairman of the committee asked Genco Holding officials about the implementation of the ministry’s directives, to which the committee was informed that Genco Holding’s CEO is still in office and BODs have sent him on ten days forced leave. Expressing his serious concerns over the matter, the chairman of the committee said that no action has been taken against anyone so far despite the identification of those responsible in the inquiry report.  Senator Syed Shibli Faraz said that the members of BODs should be called in the committee meeting and asked as to why the instructions issued by the ministry have not been implemented yet.  The CEO of Genco II informed the committee that the rehabilitation work of 747 MW (GT-14) plant is underway and the work will be completed by June 15. He further added that discussions are underway with the international firm (GE) regarding recovery of plant closure and repair costs and a legal team has been formed for this purpose. The chairman of the committee said that we will not allow the public money to be wasted in any way. The Chairman Committee also summoned the BODs of Genco Holding at its next meeting on the issue. The Chairman Committee issued clear instructions to complete the process by May 15 for the promotion of engineers in all DISCOs and Gencos.

The committee meeting also considered the issue raised by Senator Mushtaq Ahmed Khan on the point of public importance regarding fuel price adjustment charges in electricity bills. Senator Mushtaq Ahmed said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa generates more hydropower than it needs. The province is not even provided with the required share of electricity. He said the Peshawar High Court had ruled that the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa could not be charged for fuel price adjustment. But the department is still collecting the charges against the court ruling.  Senator Mushtaq Ahmed said that just as Gilgit-Baltistan is given subsidy on electricity bills, so should Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Additional Secretary Power Division informed the committee that Gilgit-Baltistan was not connected to the national grid. He further said that after being connected to the national grid, all the provinces are billed at the same rate. Additional Secretary Power added that NEPRA should be approached in this regard.

The committee meeting was attended by Senators, Syed Shibli Faraz, Saifullah Sarwar Khan Nyazee, Fida Muhammad, Syed Sabir Shah, Zeeshan Khanzada, Bahramand Khan Tangi, Sana Jamali, officials of the concerned ministry and Discos.

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