Last update: Thu, 11 Feb 2016 08pm

Tariff petition: Ministries exerting undue influence or pressure on Nepra

Ministries of Finance and Water and Power are reportedly putting pressure on National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) to fix January 29, 2015 as the date for hearing a tariff reduction petition filed by Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA), well informed sources told Business Recorder. Nepra was scheduled to hear the CPPA''s petition of Rs 3.20 per unit on Thursday but the hearing was cancelled because of "other engagements" of Authority''s Chairman and Members.

Journalists who reached Nepra headquarters to attend hearing were told that it had been cancelled due to other emergency engagements. No other date has been fixed for hearing so far. The source said CPPA submits tariff petitions for monthly fuel adjustment on 10 or 11 of each month but this time both the Ministries of Finance and Water and Power did not allow CPPA to submit a petition to Nepra.

However, the regulator pursued the company for the petition after which the latter submitted it on January 26, 2015. The regulator admitted the petition on the same day for its hearing January 29. When both the key stakeholders received information that Nepra will hear the petition, they pressurized the regulator to cancel the hearing and Nepra capitulated under pressure.

The sources said Ministries of Finance and Water and Power argue that the government is extending around Rs 300 billion subsidy to consumers per annum and pressed Nepra not to pass on Rs 3.20 per unit relief to the consumers. "Both ministries have recommended to Nepra to impose a Rs 1.50 per unit surcharge and pass on the remaining relief to consumers," the sources continued. The Authority maintains that the Nepra Act does not allow imposition of any surcharge by the regulator which has irritated the two Cabinet members. Negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for sixth review are under way in Dubai and the power sector is one of the major sectors of concern to the global lending agency.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015