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ISLAMABAD: The caretaker government has decided to appoint Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of power Distribution Companies (Discos) from Federal Service on need basis, and change Boards of all Discos.

Well-informed sources told Business Recorder that Power Division is seeking Federal Government’s approval, in principle, for appointment of CEOs of Discos from Federal Service which includes Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS), Income Tax Group, Audit and Accounts and Police Group on deputation basis as quality of some of the CEOs is very poor. For this purpose, Power Division is about to send a summary to the federal government for its final approval.

The sources said process to change Boards of all the Discos has also been initiated as most of the existing Board members are politically influenced. For this purpose, Power Division will seek applications from eligible candidates through advertisement in the newspapers.

“First of all Power Division will scrutinize the CVs of intending candidates and then call them for interview,” the sources added.

Responding to a question regarding recovery and anti-theft campaign, the sources said, government has decided to send cases of running defaulters of Discos to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for further action, in addition to blocking National Identity Cards (NICs) of defaulters and those involved in electricity theft. Discos have recovered Rs 12 billion from defaulters and electricity thieves.

Replying to another question, sources said, there is strong consideration at the federal government level to give management control of Discos to the private sector as in current circumstances no serious investor will come forward.

“If the federal government cannot run Discos without financial bleeding then how can a provincial government turn them into a profitable entity. Either way - Federal Government or Provincial Government –the hit will be on the national exchanger,” the sources added.

The government, sources said, has re-engaged International Finance Corporation (IFC) of World Bank to find out a solution for poorly performing Discos but the IFC does not have power sector experts for such transactions.

The story of privatization of Discos is 30 years’ old which started in 1993 when the CCI approved a Strategic Plan for corporatization of WAPDA. The first tangible step in this direction was the enactment of the NEPRA Act in 1997, which was followed by incorporation of Discos, Gencos, and NIDC. However, due to different reasons, corporatisation could not result in privatisation of Discos.

The process of privatization started again recently when the CCoP in its meeting held on January 04, 2021 directed the Ministry of Privatisation to expedite privatisation, and Power Division to complete the requisite actions prior to privatization of Discos.

Power Division provided all the required information to M/o Privatization with the following objectives: (i) reduce ATC losses of each DISCO to the level allowed by NEPRA;(ii) improve quality of service delivery and consumer satisfaction; (iii) raising monetary proceeds was not a consideration; and (iv) Privatisation Commission to complete privatisation as soon as possible under rules/policy/law.

Instead of proposing a full-fledged privatisation, a Working Group in the Ministry of Privatisation with appropriate representation proposed Management Contract Model for QESCO and TESCO and the Concession Model for the rest of Discos. To proceed further, an Inter-Ministerial Committee including Minister for Power, was constituted on July 1, 2021 to engage with the labor unions on matters related to management contracts/concessions of DISCOs to allay their fears.

The meeting of the committee was held in Power Division on July 14, 2021. After detailed discussion, it was decided by the Committee that it was premature to engage with the labour unions. The appointment of Transactional Advisor for privatization of DISCOs, during the said period, however, remained under process in Privatization Division.

As a new development, the CCoP on June 24, 2022 directed Power Division to seek consent from respective Provinces for buying Discos; resultantly privatisation of Discos was stalled by Ministry of Privatisation.

To expedite the process of Provincialisation, the Prime Minister constituted a Committee on March 17, 2023, under the chairmanship of the Minister for Defence for the purpose.

The Committee deliberated on various points raised by the provinces and Ministries for Law and Justice, Privatisation Commission and CCI during its five meetings. Government of Sindh (GoS) indicated its consent for transfer of HESCO and SEPCO from Federal Government to GoS. Government of Baluchistan (GoB) is hiring Transaction Advisor while the Government of KPK wants transfer of Discos with generation and Government of Punjab (GoP) is still considering the matter.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


Comments are closed.

ZA Sep 29, 2023 08:58am
Ok so, if some of the discos are poorly perforning due to CEO's inability, then reshuffle them from within PEPCO,, appointing Civil service cadre will ruin the power sector.Does the performance of these PAS, IR, PSP Accounts and Audit are up to the mark within there reapective departments???
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Rasheed Ahmed Qureshi Sep 29, 2023 09:18am
The Beaureacracy doesn't want to privatize the discos at any cost. These are measures just to kill the time. Only privatisation can ensure solution to energy crises which needs will on behalf of government and it seems lacking. So the energy crises will linger on for the next ten or twenty years and the people will have to pay the price.
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Mohammad Aleem Khan hoti. Sep 29, 2023 09:36am
The power division in its summary has proposed an irrational and illogical suggestion regarding the appointment of CEOS of discos from federal Public Service.The intention behind the veil is to favor their community rather to enhance the efficiency of Discos.The power division needs to go thrpugh the requisit qualification criteria for all such technical posts.The competancy and performamcr of the civil beaurocracy can be well judged from the detriorating condition of their parental department.The posts of CEOS are more technical than administrative. The power division should concentrate to induct competant honest officers within the discos on merit rather to induct non technical non professional B.A pass baboos from their community.
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Dabeer Razvi Sep 29, 2023 11:09am
It is requested that Federal Government employees should first eliminate the Corruption and in-efficiencies of their Departments e.g. Police, FBR, DMG, Ministries, etc ,etc. For DISCO's a better solution should be found.
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Shahid Rahim Sep 29, 2023 11:16am
In simplest words we can rest assured that our rulers just would not learn any lesson from history. They will continue to pursue the same path they have followed in the past hoping that one day the nature will give up and deliver us different results just because of their being unwavering in their (mis) beliefs.
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M S Ahmad Sep 29, 2023 03:24pm
A pre-requisite to reaping benefit of restructuring the power sector (creation of PEPCO and Gencos, NTDC and Discos) in Pakistan was the creation and enabling of NEPRA. NEPRA was created late 1997 but soon blinded and castrated by handing it over to a retired judge, than a retired general and then a retired bureaucrat. 12 years lost. They knew administration but they were clueless about the purpose of NEPRA. You do not hand over your new motorcar to your trusted tangawala. He will know how to wipe it clean but will have no clue about gears and oil change and how to operate it. Soon the car will break down, the idea of change discredited and the tanga will be back. The government is back in charge trying to "fix" the problems. The very purpose of NEPRA has been negated and the sector has been running 'brainless' for all of this century - resulting in the ongoing mess.
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Pakistani1 Sep 29, 2023 06:19pm
Please appoint engineers to run these entities rather than CSP officers who have no idea about the technical aspects.
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Knight Rider Sep 29, 2023 06:45pm
Govt servant secretarirs are babus. They are not or can not be business managers therefore they should not be inducted for CEO position or any directorship. Bring private sector professionals for CEO or in director ship positions.
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Ghareeb Awam Sep 29, 2023 07:36pm
'...Federal Service which includes Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS), Income Tax Group, Audit and Accounts and Police Group...' How did you conclude that Federal service comprises only these four services? It has many more services in its fold. I know that finally the DISCO heads will be the retired personnel from a particular government department who despite their low education and no relevant training are heading many departments in this country. I hope everybody understands what I mean.
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Nasrullah Din Sep 29, 2023 08:33pm
What a pity we want to strangulate DISCOs also through this decision, if implemented. The World is heading towards the specialization and we are trying to put the cart before the horse. The caretakers should hold elections and leave crucial decision to the elected government to come as it is none of their business to poke their nose in such matters.
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Atta Ur rehman Sep 29, 2023 10:25pm
Appointment of CEO on merit from the DISCO Engineers and handing over of DISCO to the provincial Governments along with Generation
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amir Sep 29, 2023 11:00pm
@Rasheed Ahmed Qureshi, KE is private, last month generated / bouth 48k mw, consumer used around 26k mw and billed for 176k mw. all ipp wants disco to be private, so they can lie high number of consumption and fake generation for subsidies from Govt as per ipps contract. big corruption will follow after changes in discos too, corruption by ipps and discos
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Akbar Sep 29, 2023 11:44pm
The comments are very accurate and in accordance with the situation
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Choudhry Sep 30, 2023 09:21am
Issue is being diverted towards Discos. Issue is high cost electricity. IPPs which are now 146 in numbers, are doing plundering and looting with high cost. CPPA and Nepra are actually gone corrupt in the hands of IPPs. Shut down Nepra and CPPA and hand over to NAB. Revise the contracts of IPPs and bring down the cost which is alarming. Discard dead IPPs. Stop paying capacity payments to IPPs. Shift to wind, solar or hydel immediately. Ban IPPs now onwards. Discos have no role in this issue of high cost electricity.......Please do it now.
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Nasrullah Khan Sep 30, 2023 05:17pm
Wayout is to choose people with track service record in discos not pick from outside due to their zero experience .....
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NXT Oct 01, 2023 08:43am
IFC may not have ‘power sector experts’, however “our” PAS is competent about every subject!
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