ISLAMABAD: The power sector’s regulatory body, National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), is said to be facing a crisis like situation due to prolonged delay in approval of projects, internal wrangling within the organisation and repeal of regulations and rules 2002, well informed sources told Business Recorder.
Power projects worth billions of dollars which have completed all codal formalities are in an uncertain situation with one Nepra member approving them and another challenging his powers. In case the Chairman gives his approval a rival member may oppose by arguing that it does not fall within the Chairman’s jurisdiction.
The sources said repeal of the following regulations last year is the reason for hurdles facing the under-process projects: (i) National Electric Power Regulatory Authority Interim Power Procurement (Procedure and Standards) Regulation, 2005; (ii) National Electric Power Regulatory Authority Competitive Bidding Tariff (Approval Procedure), Regulations, 2017; (iii) National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Import of Power) Regulations 2014; and (iv) National Electric Power Regulatory Authority Upfront Tariff (Approval & Procedure) Regulations, 2011.
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The officials of affected projects, which have already spent considerable funds on processing, are writing letters to all the concerned quarters for approvals but they are not getting a proper response. The projects which have been affected are related to Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJ&K), Category –III, CPPs and RFPs.
When contacted Chairman Nepra, Tauseef H Farooqi said: “I don’t know details but only those would be repealed which we were transferred to regulations. So I don’t think repeal of any rule would have impacted any plant. As per our new act, rules are to be repealed by the federal government and Nepra is to convert it to regulations.”
Meanwhile, Cabinet Division has sought update status of the following three cases from the Power Division forwarded by Nepra: (i) Repeal Nepra (Fees (Rules, 2002); (ii) Repeal of Nepra (Uniform System of Accounts) Rules, 2009; and (iii) Repeal of Nepra (Fines Rules, 2002).
On repeal Nepra Fees (Rules, 2002), Nepra maintained that the existing annual fee in indexed to Consumer Price Index (base year 2007-08) published by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics which was discontinued from July 1, 2002 due to rebasing of price indices and publication of National Consumer Price Index (Base Year 2015-16). As a result, further indexation of Nepra annual fees under the existing fee structure is not possible. Hence, revision of base rates of applicable fee which has been addressed on immediate basis through notification of draft Nepra Fee Regulations, 2020 was necessitated.
Regarding repeal of Nepra Uniform System of Accounts, Nepra argued that as per section 50(2) of the Regulation of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Power Act, 1997, the rules and regulations issued under the Nepra Act are to be brought in conformity with the amended provisions of the Nepra Act. Pertinently, under section 36 of the Nepra Act the Authority is to specify a uniform system of accounts to be followed by the licences.
Under section 2(XXVa) of the Nepra Act, specified by regulations made by the Authority specified Nepra (USoA) Regulations, 2022. However, as there already exist Nepra (USoA) Rules 2009; therefore, the said regulations are to come into effect upon the said rules. Therefore, the Authority on March 3, 2022 while approving the Nepra (USoA) Regulations, 2022 approved that recommendation may be sent to the Federal Government to repeal the Nepra (USoA) Rules, 2009 as per section 46(1) of the Nepra Act.
Nepra, in its letter had recommended that Nepra (USoA) Rules, 2009 may be repealed by the Federal Government.
About Nepra Fines Rules, 2002, Nepra, in a letter to Secretary Cabinet stated that as per section 50 of the Regulation of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Power Act, 1997, the rules and regulations issued under the Act are to be brought into conformity with the amended provisions of the Act, wherever required, within a period of one year from the date of coming intro effect of the Amendment Act.
Nepra, in its letter requested Secretary Cabinet to repeal Nepra (Fines) Rules, 2002.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023