ISLAMABAD: Alarmed by the high tariff granted to Sahiwal and Port Qasim coal-fired power plants, the National Accountability Bureau has initiated an inquiry against the former officials of National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) and the Ministry of Water and Power who allegedly favoured the above-mentioned power plants in getting undue raise in tariff which caused a loss of millions of dollars to the national exchequer.
Documents available with Pakistan Today revealed that the national exchequer has incurred annual losses of $470 million after higher officials from NEPRA and Ministry of Water and Power allegedly favoured Sahiwal and Port Qasim coal-fired power plants by raising the tariff allegedly above the market rate.
Since the life of these coal power plants has been fixed as 25 years, additional tariff given to these power plants will make the national exchequer bear losses of approximately $14 billion during this period, sources said.
It has been learnt that energy tariffs in Pakistan are the most expensive in the world. High upfront tariff and capital costs have resulted in the high price of electricity and loss of competitiveness of Pakistani exports and industry, leading to a massive balance of payments crisis.
It is pertinent to mention that currently, two coal-fired power plants are working in Pakistan, but on exorbitant tariff rates. Port Qasim and Sahiwal power plants of 1,320MW each are getting the tariff of USc 8.3601 & USc 9.16, respectively, as per NEPRA’s determination, and delivering 9.25 billion units of electricity per annum, separately.
Unfortunately, the above-mentioned coal-fired power plants are allowed to include the cost of the jetty and additional transportation cost in the upfront tariff which further enhanced the tariff structure.
Overpayments to these two projects are estimated to be $475 million per annum and with time will be more than $14.25 billion.
Worried by the overpayments, NAB has initiated an inquiry against former officials of NEPRA and the Ministry of Water and Power for favouring these power plants in getting higher tariffs.
As per the sources, India’s Mundra Ultra Power Coal Project (4,000MW), with a tariff rate of Indian INR2.64/Kwh is far cheaper than Pakistani plants. Meanwhile, Bangladesh had signed three contracts of coal-fired power generation, the average tariff for the power plants was set at 5.42 US cents/Kwh.