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ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Power Tuesday expressed annoyance over the Power Division’s attitude as it failed to take action against the Board of Directors of GHCL and CEO CPGCL and other officials responsible for damage to unit 14 of 747 MW Guddu Thermal Power Plant worth billions of rupees.

Presided over by Senator Saifullah Abro, the committee expressed its reservations at the Power Division for not implementing its previous recommendations.

The committee had directed Secretary Power Division and all concerned to share implementation status of all the pending recommendations made by it in its meeting held during the period from June 24, 2021 to May 16, 2022, implementation status of three letters issued by the Power Division on March 31, 2022 regarding independent inquiry report of construction of damage of 747 MW( GT-14) plant and action against Chairman, BoD of GHCL, Islamabad & GPGCL CEO, GHCL and other involved officials, provision of electricity and load shedding of all feeders in all Discos from March 1, 2022 to May 28, 2022 and construction of compressor station at Guddu Thermal Power Plant.

Additional Secretary Power Division Shakeel Qadir informed the committee that as per the recommendations of the committee, the process of reviewing the performance of the board of directors and management of the four Gencos has been started. Further action will be taken keeping in view this performance.

Expressing its strong reservations, the Chairman of the Committee said that action should have been taken in the light of the independent inquiry report. The board of directors must be accountable.

The chairman of the committee further said that the BODs and CEOs of Genco Holding, which is responsible for all the transactions, should also be suspended. Genco Holding and all Gencos and their BODs are under the Ministry. The ministry should take action against them as soon as possible. The Additional Secretary Power Division took the position that it would be better to seek the opinion of the Ministry of Law before taking any action. The chairman of the committee said that the ministry has all the powers and BODs cannot be given open leave.

Authorities indicated the committee’s recommendations to the relevant minister and indicated further action.

The Additional Secretary Power Division gave a detailed briefing to the committee regarding loss and load shedding on power feeders across the country. The committee was informed that in areas where the rate of payment of electricity bills is high, minimum load shedding is being carried out. Officials say Casco’s recovery is less than 40 percent. The situation is better in Punjab but there are difficulties in recovery from other provinces.

The Chairman of the committee said that after the change of government, there are many areas in Sindh where electricity is being provided round the clock despite zero recovery and shut down feeders are also being restored. The chairman of the committee directed the ministry officials to provide details of all the feeders.

The Chairman of the Committee expressed his displeasure over the absence of CEO-Electric to brief the Committee on the progress of renewal of the agreement between the Government of Pakistan and K-Electric and directed that at the next meeting the CEO-K. Electric ensure your presence.

Chief, Distribution Officer, Amir Zia, who attended the meeting on behalf of the company, introduced himself and tried to convince the Chairman that he would answer the questions, however, Chairman refused to accept his offer with the comment “are you the CEO?”

He said, KE owes Rs 56 billion to the Federal Government, and directed the Chief Distribution Officer to send the CEO to the next meeting of the Committee for discussion on the status of renewal of agreement between Government of Pakistan and KE, pending payment of circular debt and update on the massive outage in Karachi.

The meeting also considered the progress made in implementing the recommendations of the committee regarding the development of engineers in discos and Gencos across the country. Discus CEOs informed the committee that board meetings have been convened for the promotion of engineers and the promotions will be implemented soon in the light of the committee’s recommendations. The chairman of the committee also directed to take immediate steps for the development of engineers in Gencos.

Chairman Committee also expressed his anger at the Minister for Power Khurram Dastgir Khan and Secretary Rashid Mehmood Langrial for not attending meeting of the Committee.

“Whom should we put our questions to as neither the minister nor the Secretary taking interest in committee meetings,” he added.

Abro argued that at present the country is experiencing its worst power crisis and absence of Minister and Secretary from the meeting indicates the non-seriousness of Power Division. Initially, the Chairman adjourned the meeting for some time but later resumed it when the

Power Division’s Additional Secretary, informed the Committee that imported fuel for electricity generation is too costly and not affordable.

“Imported fuel is so expensive it is a sin even to touch it,” he said adding that coal, furnace oil, LNG have become even more expensive.

The price of imported fuel has risen dramatically in the last three months and power generation from local coal will be gradually increased.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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