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ISLAMABAD: National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) said on Wednesday that implementation on Competitive Trading Bilateral Trading Market (CTBCM) is being halted for one or another reason, without naming individuals or entities.

These remarks came from the regulator during a public hearing conducted to extend provisional distribution licences or grant new licences to eight Discos, i.e., IESCO, FESCO, LESCO, GEPCO, HESCO, MEPCO, PESCO and QESCO.

Chairman Nepra Tauseef H Farooqi, Member KP Maqsood Anwar Khan and newly appointed Member Balochistan Mathar Niaz Rana quizzed the representatives of Discos. The main issue was renewal of distribution licence on new terms and conditions consistent with Nepra (Amendment) Act, 2018 vis-à-vis grant of fresh distribution licence to Discos.

The question was if the Authority should grant new licences to the Discos or extend their existing licences and conduct a hearing for Authority Proposed Modification (APM) mechanism.

Both the Authority and Discos wrangled on the issue of exclusivity of Discos in their respective jurisdictions and did not reach any conclusion.

July-September QTA: Nepra agrees to let Discos recover Rs43bn from consumers

The Authority maintained that Discos should submit an affidavit that they will not claim exclusivity in their respective jurisdictions where they do not have required infrastructure. However, lawyers and representatives of Discos did not show any willingness in this regard citing different clauses of Nepra Act and rules.

The performance of the Discos also came under discussion which was declared pathetic. Registrar Nepra Syed Safeer Hussain and other participants strongly supported the CTBCM and urged the regulator to allow new players in the power system.

Chairman Nepra remarked that the regulator wants competition in the sector but unfortunately for one reason or another, the CTCBM introduced to open up the market is being blocked. He appreciated media for supporting the CTBCM so that the power sector is modernized, adding that until new players enter the market and entities do not hide behind exclusivity, especially through employing legal tactics, power sector will never be modernized.

The issue of network operator also came under discussion as the Discos were of the view that there should be only one network along with one SOLR. They claimed that there would be a difference in demand and supply and someone should be responsible for the imbalance. There will be a single network in Discos like other countries.

“Exclusivity is not any hindrance in the way of CTBCM rather it will strengthen the latter,” said one of the representatives of Discos.

Chairman Nepra stated that had Discos supplied proper electricity to the consumers there would not have been any need for the CTBCM.

“The power sector compelled the country legislators who are annoyed at its performance to legislate it. We are trying to build a motorway (CTBCM) in place of the G T Road (existing network). The regulator is asking for a one-page affidavit to avert legal hurdles but the Discos are not ready,” Chairman Nepra said, adding that now he would talk to the CEOs of Discos whether they want to live in the current system or want a change.

Member KP Maqsood Anwar Khan and Member Balochistan Mathar Niaz Rana also raised questions on the viewpoint taken by the Discos on exclusivity.

Chairman Nepra accused the Discos of misusing exclusivity rights.

During the hearing it was also pointed out that the Discos are functioning without any law these days and their provisional licences have already been expired.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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