ISLAMABAD

Independent Power Regulatory Authority Nepra is divided on the issue of taking action against K-Electric on failure to supply electricity in cosmopolitan, as some of the managers are in favour of strict legal action to correct the power supply matters, whereas the top bosses want to carry on “mitty pao”, policy, on political pressure.

“We are in a fix, if we give clean chit to K-Electric, we might face inquiries in future, as what happened in Karachi Electric Supply Company is no secret, and if we take any action against the company, government might send Chairman and Members home”, an official said.

According to him, it was due to the government pressure, that violating all protocols, Nepra chairman and members visited Finance Minister office, last week.

“The top bosses were told by Ishaq Dar, that taking any strict action against the K-Electric company, where PPP top bosses has major shareholdings, could aggravate political instability in the province, an official told the scribe. He said, during the Chairman (Nepra) and members meeting with Finance Minister, the same message was communicated.

He said according to procedure Nepra has first to charge sheet the K-Electric in its report and after announcing the findings / charge sheet, Authority can take any legal action. According to him that’s why now Nepra has decided to delay the charge sheet/ report.

Officials allegedly claim that Nepra Chief Tariq Sadozai, a retired Brigadier, by profession, and other members who does not have any related education or experience in regulating power sector, could go to any extent to save their jobs. Anybody can take operational decisions, but for long term policy related decisions, the top slot needs vision and experience, official said.

Some managers in the authority advocate a strict action against the power company.

The situation in Karachi is worst, people are dying due to no electricity and many areas are without water, if Nepra would not take action now, it may lose its all legal and moral justification, a source quoted a manager.

However, the source claimed that despite resistance no legal action is visible in the authority as it has yet to come up with final report on recent power outages in K-Electric.

The report which was due on Monday has yet to be announced. No official gives any specific date that when it would be made public.

Experts of water and power sector allege the matter of K-Electric is a classical example of power politics.

I compiled a report “Pakistan Power Sector outlook: appraisal of KESC in post privitisation period”, in December 2012, and presented it to the then Minister, Secretary Water & Power and his staff, which was highly appreciated but no action was taken on political pressure, so much so, that later, then NEPRA Chairman Khawaja Naeem requested me to withdraw the report, even though it had been published a year ago, said Arshad Abbasi, Advisor SDPI Pakistan, while commenting on the issue.

Abbasi said that he remembered exact words of Khawaja Naeem even today. “This report, though based on hard facts, and analysis, is reflecting a bad image, (on Nepra), so can you withdraw the report?”

He lamented that the Chairman of an independent regulatory authority becomes the mouthpiece of power utility KESC. Abbasi alleged that in recent crisis, when the KESC was facing huge performance turmoil, NEPRA fact finding committee has just copied his findings, he compiled, three years ago.

No Nepra official was ready to comment on the issue on the record, However, Director Public Relations Syeda Ayesha Tassaduq, negated all the allegations and said that report would be made public in due course of time.

A high level fact finding committee to ascertain the causes of frequent power cuts by K-Electric, consisting of consultants Masood Ahmad Khan, Javed Pervaiz, Hussain Zaigham Alvi senior advisor technical and Mazhar Ranjha Director Standards, are working day and night on the report and it would be made public in due course.

After the death of more than 1000 people in Karachi last month, Nepra constituted a fact finding committee to investigate reasons for long power cuts in Karachi Electric Supply Company, on public pressure.

The outages still continue in cosmopolitan, where masses are struggling hard to survive in worst load shedding and water crisis triggered due to absence of electricity.

All four members are making individual reports, these reports would be compiled into one”, Tassaduq said. She lamented that instead of giving credit to the authority, media was criticising it. You should give credit to authority for its hard work and good things it has done for the country, she said.

The power cuts in cosmopolitan city continue to intensify the miseries of people in the fasting month of Ramadan. In another development, the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue has decided to review the privatisation process of the KESC.

It is a matter of high public significance and the committee has decided to give its recommendations in its meeting; the committee would summon all the stakeholders and relevant authorities to present their point of view, said Senator Salim Mandvilwalla, according to an official handout.

In this regard, official said, an emergency meeting of the committee has been called on 15th July, 2015.