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ISLAMABAD: The Bank of Punjab (BoP) and Government of Punjab (GoPb) are to sign a Service Level Agreement (SLA) to provide subsidy to consumers who consume up to 100 units per month, well informed sources told Business Recorder.

The subsidy scheme for domestic consumers of electricity up to 100 units per month was approved in budget 2022-23 but formally announced early this week by the Chief Minister, Hamza Shahbaz.

According the BoP, it received a letter from the Energy Department, Government of Punjab on June 17, 2022, following which meetings with Chairman Planning and Development (P&D), Secretary Energy Department, Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB), Power Information Technology Company (PITC), and Distribution Companies (Discos) and other related stakeholders were held and the Bank of Punjab made representation with all the stakeholders.

The matter was finalized in a meeting held under the chairmanship of Secretary Energy, GoPb, on June 27, 2022 and agreement to the process for handling subsidy was reached, which is follows:(i) subsidy will only be given to consumers/ users who are eligible under the criteria for subsidy and will register themselves through SMS process;(ii) the registration application will be developed by NTC (for subsidy claim by proposed consumer/ users);(iii) the application will be verified about the valid bill/ subsidized consumer reference/ CNIC of the subsidy claimant from the billing database maintained by PITC.

It was also agreed that PITC will maintain database for paid bills under the subsidy facility as well;(iv) as per the outline of the program, all the customers/ consumers will invariably visit the payment channel as per the existing bill payment practice; (v) in case of eligibility for subsidy and registered consumers’ bills, under the “Payable Amount” the billing module of the channel will show Rs0.01.

The bill will be marked “paid” from billing module of the channel used and this information will be stored with the Discos/ PITC for further claim from the GoPb;(vi) while customer awareness program and required development in billing system will be handled by the concerned department, the Bank of Punjab will develop an encrypted agent portal for Discos’ to raise their claims and access to this portal will be granted to them;(vii) Discos will upload their claims into BOP Portal and BOP will settle such claims to the debit of pre-funded account maintained with the bank; and (viii) relevant Government of Punjab, i.e., Finance/ Energy Departments will maintain pre-funded accounts with the BoP to settle such subsidy/ referred claims and credit total amount to respect Discos as the claim file.

In this regard, Service Level Agreement (SLA) will be executed between the Punjab of Punjab and relevant stakeholders.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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