Committee Defers Proposed Power Bill For Imposing Extra Surcharge on Consumers

The Standing Committee on Power expressed serious reservations on the “The Regulation of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Power (Amendment) Bill, 2020”, and said that by imposing surcharges the ministry is trying to find an easy way out to pay the circular debt.

The committee met under the Chairmanship of Chaudhry Salik Hussain. In the case of this plan, under which the legislation to impose uniform tariff and surcharge is not clear, there needs to be sufficient justification for the Committee to give its approval to the proposed legislation.

Hussain, along with other members of the Committee, pointed out the deficiencies in the proposed legislation and observed that the imposition of surcharges should be done by the provinces.

The ministry should ensure that no more waivers are given to the IPPs. Hussain also drew the attention of the Committee towards the report of the Auditor-General who has pointed out huge irregularities, mismanagement, misappropriation and embezzlement amounting to Rs. 3 trillion by the Power Division.

The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) has also put question marks over the sustainability of the Power Sector under the current state of affairs, governance shortcoming, and weak financial and administrative controls.

Hussain held the government, present and past, equally responsible for the pending quarterly adjustments. Regarding surcharges, the Committee asked the Ministry to come up with a “master plan”, its implications and long-term benefits for the public.

The bill was deferred for the next scheduled meeting with the direction that the Ministry should get its act together and submit a proper justification for the imposition of the surcharge.

The other Bill, “The Pakistan Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (No. XXV of 2019)”, was also deferred as Members from Sindh showed reservations toward giving powers of taking cognizance by the officer of the Government and opined that this will open doors for corruption and will promote the culture of registering fake FIRs.

The Committee vowed to call the high ups of Karachi Electric (KE) to answer the complaints of the legislators.

The meeting was attended by Malik Muhammad Amir Dogar, Sher Akbar Khan, Saif Ur Rehman, Lal Chand, Saira Bano, Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada, Shazia Marri, Secretary Ministry of Power Division and senior officers of the relevant departments.