ISLAMABAD: National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) on Wednesday shelved scheduled public hearing of tariff petitions filed by Distribution Companies (Discos) for adjustment of Rs 162.363 billion for two quarters (second and third quarter 2019-20) after receiving a letter from Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco).

This was the crux of a scheduled hearing of Discos petitions about quarterly tariff adjustments held in Nepra through a video link. Chairman Nepra, Tauseef. H. Siddiqui, presided over the hearing at the Nepra offices, whereas, Nepra members, Saif Ullah Chattha, Rehmatullah Baloch and Rafique Ahmad Shaikh participated in the hearing through a video link.

Discos had sought an increased electricity tariff of upto Rs 2 per unit under quarterly tariff adjustment mechanism for second and third quarter) from October 2019 to March 2020.

National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) held a public hearing on June 3, 2020 to decide about the tariff petitions of Discos, meant to recover Rs 162.363 billion from the consumers.

According to the tariff petitions, Discos had sought adjustment of Rs 72.770 billion for second quarterly adjustment October to December 2019, of which Rs 60, 84 billion is required under Capacity Purchase Price (CPP), Rs 2.851 billion against variable O&M cost, Rs 1.662 billion, UoSC & MoF, Rs 7.778 billion as impact of T&D losses on monthly FCA and Rs 95 million as impact of extra/less purchases.

For third quarterly adjustment January to March 2020, Discos sought the adjustment of Rs 89.363 billion, of which Rs 82.385 billion as CPP, Rs 1.5 billion variable O&M, Rs 1.188 billion UoSC & MoF, Rs 4.555 billion impact of T&D losses on monthly FPA. Discos sought a reduction of Rs 20 million as the impact of extra/less purchases.

Of the total adjustment of Rs 162.363 billion, the Iesco has sought an accumulative adjustment of Rs 16.233 billion, Lesco, Rs 28.166 billion, Gepco, Rs 13.494 billion, Fesco, Rs 23.043 billion, Mepco, Rs 23.694 billion, Pesco, Rs 29.776 billion, Hesco, Rs 9.978, Qesco, 14.725 billion, Sepco, Rs 4.139 billion, Tesco, Rs 889 million (reduction).

As the hearing started, Nepra's technical team stated that they have received a letter from Pepco on June 3, 2020, which has brought into the notice of the Authority that the cabinet re-affirmed its earlier decision that the price of electricity will remain unchanged till June 2020. Pepco requested Nepra that quarterly tariff adjustment may be deferred till the next decision of cabinet.

As Nepra's officials read out Pepco's letter, Member (Tariff), Nepra asserted that Nepra does not need to proceed further after a decision of the federal cabinet. The representatives of Central Power Purchasing Agency- Guaranteed (CPPA-G), Power Division and Ministry of Commerce did not attend the hearing.

Chairman Nepra enquired from the representatives of Discos, who were available on video link as to why they didn't take CPPA-G into confidence before filing tariff petitions for quarterly adjustments.

Chairman Nepra asked Discos representatives if they were aware of Cabinet's decision, who responded in the negative. The Chairman was of the view that since Nepra has to approve a consolidated tariff for Discos for which presence of representative of CPPA-G is necessary, how did Discos' representatives filed petitions without taking CPPA-G on board?

The representative of a Disco said that they filed tariff petitions directly without taking CPPA-G on board. He was of the view that the representative of CPPA-G should have been in the hearing.

The Chairman asserted it appears that Discos are not aware of the Cabinet's letter and were bypassing the directions of government. Member, Tariff said that Discos should approach Power Division for seeking guidance on quarterly tariff adjustments. He was of the view that a reduction in oil prices should also be passed on to the consumers. He maintained that Nepra does not want to overburden consumers at a time when the people are already facing a difficult situation arising out of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Bushra Imran, Lesco said that Discos filed petitions in the light of invoices generated by CPPA-G and the data is available directly. CPPA-G represents in itself in Nepra.

“This is all unusual as CPPA-G conducts all such things as payment master and also extends support on notifications for subsidy," he said, adding that it is a very strange situation, Discos should not have come in the hearing without taking Power Division into confidence. He suggested that Discos should seek guidance from Power Division.

CEO, Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) said that since Discos have shared their data, Nepra should conduct hearing but not to announce the decision. The Chairman Nepra commented that Discos data is secure and whenever hearing will be conducted, it would be taken into consideration.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020