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ISLAMABAD: National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) said on Tuesday that revenue-based load shedding in distribution companies (Discos) is illegal and violation of rules.

The regulator gave this observation at a public hearing on a petition of Multan Electric Power Company (Mepco) for Multi-Year Tariff (MYT) till 2025.

As the public hearing commenced, Chairman Nepra Taussef H Farooqi asked as to why a five-year tariff was approved for the Disco, when its distribution licence will expire in March 2022. The CEO, Mepco answered that the company should be considered as a going concern, and it will get its license extension before March 2022.

During the hearing Nepra’s Authority headed by Chairman Taussef H Farooqi and Member Sindh, Rafique Ahmad Shaikh, who is also Member Tariff, gave a tough time to CEO Mepco for their poor performance, higher losses, misstatement of figures, load shedding, delay in connections and issues of infrastructure.

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Mepco has sought an increase of Rs 5.25 per unit in tariff for FY 2020-21, Rs 1.98 for 2021-22, Rs 2.32 per unit for 2022-23, Rs 2.48 per unit for 2023-24 and Rs 2.73 per unit for 2024-25.

Chairman Nepra also criticised previous Nepra officials for showing leniency towards Discos, saying he is baffled as to why Nepra officials before his joining as Chairman were so kind to Discos. He added that Discos have to answer all the questions asked by the regulator.

Member Sindh announced starting legal proceedings against Mepco for delay in 100,000 new connections due to which capacity payment of over 350 MW is being paid by the consumers. However, Mepco CEO told that his company was facing shortage of meters.

“Power sectors’ circular debt is increasing. This kind of justification will not be tolerated,” said Rafique Shaikh, adding that people are facing massive load shedding and returning to non-electric light sources. He enquired where is the former CEO CPPA-G, Abid Lodhi who wrote a number of letters claiming that the country had surplus power.

He contended that revenue-based load shedding is illegal and violation of Nepra rules. Discos are implementing revenue-based load shedding on the instructions of Power Division so that losses are reduced, he said.

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Chairman Nepra observed that Mepco has sought Rs 120 billion for investment in the next five years but no value addition is witnessed, adding that the company is inflicting financial loss of Rs 80 million every day for not consuming its allocated share of power.

The Authority also raised questions on Rs 610 million – an amount Mepco sought as Pepco management fee, saying that since Pepco is an illegal entity, why are management fees being sought?

Chairman Nepra directed Mepco management to give the same package to its consumers (private people) who die of electrocution, which is available for Mepco employees. He also directed that women should also be given opportunities for jobs at par with male candidates.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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