ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat lamented the situation faced by common man and the increasing difficulties they are facing to pay off their heavy electricity bills.
The committee met with Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmad in the chair at the Parliament House Tuesday.
Harsh words were also exchanged between Kamil Ali Agha of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-i-Azam (PML-Q) and Senator Sarfraz Ahmad Bugti on increasing price of electricity and overbilling.
Kamil Ali Agha said that the lives of the poor people are in a miserable condition due to increase in the tariff of electricity.
He said that on the one hand, the poor people are unable to feed their children due to price hike, while on the other hand they are getting a heavy bill of electricity.
He said why the government delayed the processing of purchase of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
Sarfraz Ahmad Bugti said, "If you (Kamil Ali Agha) oppose and criticise the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government then you should sit on opposition benches or tender resignation."
Committee Chairman Rana Maqbool Ahmad said that the high officers including Deputy Commissioners (DC), Assistant Commissioners (AC), and other officers should attend the calls of public representatives and listen to the voice of the poor people.
He said that if they could not give response himself/herself due to being busy in meetings or other engagements then they should assign their lower staffs to contact the callers or people who want to meet them and listen to their problems.
The Committee also showed resentment over the absence of the chief secretary Balochistan in the meeting and the Committee decided to send notice to the chief minister Balochistan in this regard
The chairman Committee lamented the situation faced by the common people of Pakistan.
He said, "It is becoming increasingly difficult for poor people to pay off their electricity bills. Policies should be framed keeping in mind the situation of the common people. A proper investigation should be held in this regard and we are ready to form a committee comprising both of lawmakers and the Nepra officials in order to look into tariff-related issues."
The chairman Committee further proposed that the tariff of energy and petroleum goods should be approved by the Parliament of Pakistan.
Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan sought explanation regarding the Nepra's policy on small hydropower projects and incentives given by the government in order to encourage such projects in the country.
"NEPRA only deals with projects, which contribute towards the national grid. Small localized hydropower projects do not come under the ambit of Nepra," answered chairman Nepra.
Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan further added that Pakistan is one of the most suitable countries in terms of solar power with almost 300 days of sunlight what is the Nepra doing to encourage the use of solar power in the country.
We have introduced the system of net metering in the country by which consumers can not only generate their own electricity but also sell the surplus energy back to the government.
Senator Rukhsana Zuberi sought details regarding process of tariff determination for export and import of electricity.
The chairman Nepra said that policy making is not the responsibility of the regulator.
The government and relevant ministry should be asked about policy decisions.
The chairman Nepra said that as per current definition of renewable energy, Pakistan stands at a meager three percent and hydropower share is almost 30 percent.
"Inclusion of hydropower in renewable energy category will have long-term benefits for the country. It can further strengthen the Government of Pakistan's objective to attain a "Clean and Green Pakistan" and help in achieving objectives of the European Union's Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP +) for sustainable development and environmental protection creating an enabling situation to qualify for (GSP++) category in future. It can further help accessing the global green financing facilities, attracting the international interest and channeling it for sustainable growth of electricity sector of Pakistan. Inclusion of hydropower in renewable energy category will create opportunities to realise the carbon emissions credit and trading these in the international carbon markets/emissions trading schemes to gain financial returns/contributions," maintained chairman NEPRA.
The chairman NEPRA further added that our target is to achieve 60 percent renewable energy share in future.
Senator Saadia Abbasi asked how the Nepra will achieve this target of 60 percent renewable energy share.
Answering to which, the chairman NEPRA pledged to present a comprehensive plan of action with timeline in the next meeting of the committee.
Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan asked, "What are the contributing factors in price hike of electricity in the country?" The chairman NEPRA replied that devaluation of Pakistani rupee is one of the major factors in price hike. Circular debt is due to government subsidies extended to the people of Pakistan.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021