ISLAMABAD - In a significant move, the National Accountability Bureau has decided to monitor the entire functions of power sector, both gas as well as electricity, to ensure maximum provision of gas and efficient power generation by stopping corrupt practices to ease down the prevailing energy crisis in the country.

NAB has also conveyed to all the stakeholders of the power sector that criminal proceedings would start against all violators including the government functionaries. The bureau has also decided to initiate an inquiry to probe whether the government's decision to provide electricity to tube wells at flat rate had a criminal aspect or not.

In this connection, Chairman NAB Admiral (retd) Fasih Bokhari, here on Tuesday, had summoned all the representatives of power sector's stakeholders including ministries of Water and Power, Finance, Petroleum, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), Planning Commission, SSGCL and SNGPL for a meeting at the NAB Headquarters.

All the representative of government functionaries had been communicated that NAB would monitor the functions of the entire power sector, including Sui Southern Gas Pipelines (SSGCL) and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL), to ensure maximum provision of gas as well as efficient power generation to bring relief to the public at large, NAB spokesman Ramzan Sajid said.

The Chairman NAB has strictly instructed state functionaries that government orders or instructions must be followed strictly in letter and spirit with regard to power sector. It was also directed that gas would be provided to all sectors in accordance with laid down priorities with the highest priority going to the public at large followed by efficient power producers. 

NAB has pointed out to the stakeholders: "Despite clear instructions by the interim government that the priority of supply of gas would start with the general public, followed by efficient power producing companies and lastly "Captive Power Generators"; governmental instructions are being flouted and violated".

Captive Power Generators are units that are provided gas at subsidized rates so that they can provide electricity to industries, at subsidized rates. However, NAB has observed during the presentations given by the power sector functionaries to it that some of the captive power generators were getting gas at subsidized rates, but were selling electricity back to the government at full rates, instead of to the industries at subsidized rates.

The bureau had informed the Ministry of Water and Power that it was a clear case of corruption, which was not possible without the criminal negligence, and the connivance of government functionaries.

In another case of violation of rules and regulations, Chairman NAB said that subsidized gas was still being provided to inefficient independent power producers (IPPs) in negation of government policy. The governmental instructions clearly stated that priority of provision of subsidized gas to IPPs would go to those which are efficient power producer having more than 50 percent efficiency.

Representative of NEPRA pointed though it was responsible for fixing the tariff rates yet the governmental ministries used to issue the notification of these tariffs that was frequently delayed, resulting in losses to the IPP as well as the public at large. In addition, the representative of held the view that in some instances, line losses and loss due to theft of electricity ranged between 50 to 80 percent of the power being produced. NEPRA will provide details of these instances to NAB shortly.

It came into light before the meeting that in order to favour large landholders, electricity was being provided for tube wells at the flat rate of Rs 8 per unit. This is resulting in enormous loss to the exchequer and to the suffering of the general public, which is a criminal offence. NAB will initiate investigations in this regard.

It also became obvious during the course of the meeting that neither any single organ of the state was responsible for the mess that has been created in the power sector nor was there any integrated energy management policy.

The Chairman directed that all the government organizations must clear their outstanding dues of electricity bills before April 19, the final date of clearing overdue electricity bills otherwise all defaulters would have to face criminal proceedings.

He held the view that re-appropriation of budget by ministries or organizations concerned was unnecessary for clearance of electricity dues and instructed all governmental organizations to clear their dues forthwith.

Regulators were instructed to ensure that they would perform their assigned role in accordance with the law; failing which NAB would proceed against individuals or organizations, the Chairman NAB stressed and added the bureau will look into the role of regulators.

Admiral Bokhari gave the final warning to all individuals, government institutions, government functionaries and said criminal proceeding would be initiated against all violators after that.