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ISLAMABAD: Expressing serious annoyance over Discos and CPPA-G for submitting 'fabricated' figures of capacity and variable charges to claim an increase of paisa 86 per unit in tariff, under quarterly adjustment mechanism, National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) put off hearing for one week.

The Authority comprising Chairman, Tauseef H Farooqi, Vice Chairman (Member Punjab), Saif Ullah Chattha and Member Sindh, Rafique Ahmad Shaikh, also warned the concerned Discos and CPPA-G officials that in future, presence of Discos' CEOs and CPPA-G's CEO and CFO must be ensured and in the event that they do not attend the hearing, the Authority will either seek an explanation or penalize them.

Discos, in their petitions, initially sought an increase of paisa 80 per unit in their tariffs to recover Rs 82.7 billion from consumers on account of variation in Power Purchase Price (PPP) for the 4th quarter (April-June 2020) of 2019-20. However, later Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) submitted another invoice of Rs 3 billion in its claim of Rs 16.320 billion, after which the requested claims of Discos, was Rs 85.47 billion for the 4th quarter (April-June) 2019-20.

According to the petitions, Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) has sought Rs 7.847 billion for 4th quarter of 2019-29, of which Rs 7.717 billion is on account of PPP, Rs 136 million O&M, Rs 230 million UoSC & MoF with reduction of Rs 163 million T&D losses on monthly FPA. Lesco has claimed Rs 19.320 billion, Gepco, Rs 8.831 billion, Fesco, Rs 10.876 billion, Mepco, Rs 15.147 billion, Pesco, Rs 10.619 billion, Hesco,3.835 billion Qesco, Rs 6.068 billion and Sepco, 3.798 billion. However, Tesco has sought a reduction of Rs642 million.

Of total Rs 82.7 billion, claims of Rs 81.109 billion are related to Capacity Purchase Price (CPP), Rs 567 million variable O&M, Rs 2.270 billion on account of UoSC& MoF reduction of 1.249 billion on account of T&D losses on monthly FPA.

Mubashir, Director (Tariff) informed the Authority that Power Division wrote a letter to Nepra on November 18, 2020, requesting that the impact of 4th quarter should be on uniform basis to be reflected in the monthly bills of consumers of all Discos till final recovery. Any excess and less adjustment would be settled between the Discos and CPPA-G.

None of the senior officials from CPPA-G or Discos excluding Iesco participated in the hearing which was requested to approve recovery of Rs over Rs 85 billion from the consumers. The officials of Sepco and Qesco did not speak a single word on the questions raised about their data.

Replying to a question of Member Sindh, Rafique Ahmad Shaikh as to why Iesco's CPP increased, the CEO Iesco replied that CPPA-G has clarified it, adding that the invoice of August was on higher side but that Iesco has already raised objection on the invoice being higher in August. Member Sindh asked CEO Iesco as to what were his analyses, to which the latter replied that in July invoice was accurate but in August it was too high.

On a question raised by Vice Chairman Nepra, Saif Ullah Chattha, CEO Iesco stated that from July to August load increased by 100 MW whereas receipt was less by Rs 40 million. The CEO Iesco further noted that CPPA-G had to send invoice of Rs 12.2 billion but it sent invoice of Rs 19.9 billion which was over Rs 7 billion higher than the actual CPP.

Chairman Nepra argued that 58 per cent increase has been sought in CPP, questioning as to how the regulator can pass it on to the consumers blindly.

The representative of CPP-G noted that invoices generated from IPPs, are sent to the Discos on uniform basis as per commercial code.

Chairman enquired from the representative of CPPA-G the whereabouts of the CFO and was told that he was in a meeting in the Ministry. At this the Chairman remarked that he should be asked to receive the amount of Rs 7 billion from the Ministry.

Member Sindh, was angered at the response of the representative of CCP-A, saying that he had never seen such a pathetic discussion in public hearing before. He strongly requested Chairman Nepra to postpone the hearing as the Authority was not there to hear their unsubstantiated arguments.

When Chairman Nepra enquired about evidence of claims of CPPA-G, the official replied that he could respond only after going through the documents prompting the Chairman Nepra to remark that he was postponing the hearing and will re-fix it at when they were prepared.

Vice Chairman Nepra, Saif Ullah Chattha concurred and proposed that since Discos and CPPA-G were not prepared the hearing should be postponed with the warning to Discos and CPPA-G that in case such a situation recurs action will be taken against them.

Wrapping up the hearing, Chairman Nepra directed that the CEOs and CFOs of all the applicant companies should be present in hearing and in case they do not attend the meeting, the Authority will seek explanation letters from them or impose a penalty.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020