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ISLAMABAD: National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has recently issued Social Investment guidelines for the power sector, in violation of its own Act.

Well informed sources told Business Recorder that the guidelines encourage the licencees to seek commitment to social investment from business partners. Vice Chairman, NEPRA, Rafique Ahmad Shaikh while signing the Guidelines wrote the following as his recommendation: “NEPRA shall keep itself away from CSR events, inauguration ceremonies. In addition, NEPRA shall keep its distance from funding matter to any NGOs/entity by any licensee or otherwise”.

According to sources, before signing the Guidelines, NEPRA Authority witnessed signing ceremonies under its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): “Power with Prosperity” drive to sign Memorandum of understanding (MoU) by and between its licencees and the financing agencies.

“The only obligation NEPRA will have under these MoUs is to receive progress report on a quarterly basis. The progress will include list of beneficiaries/ borrowers and project related information,” the sources added.

One of the private sector stakeholders questioned if it is the function of the Authority to create a CSR position to collaborate with financing agencies to review progress report, adding that instead of collaborating and overseeing the disbursement of loans, Regulator should engage more with its licencees in overcoming problems and constraints for a better performance in the provision of electric power service for which it has been established.

Dr. Shahid Rahim, a noted Power System Planner, in his analysis on the lately published NEPRA State of the Industry Report 2021 (SIR 21) wrote the following, “the SIR21 goes in considerable detail on the Authority’s activities on Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) and CSR, and in particular its new initiative under the banner “Power with Prosperity”.

According to the Act, NEPRA’s primary duty is to ensure affordable and reliable electric power to people and economy of this country. The stakeholders from the power industry are of the view that the best way NEPRA can contribute to country’s prosperity is by ensuring affordable and reliable electricity supply which is gradually slipping out of the reach of most citizens, businesses, and industries.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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