Continuous absence of Minister for Energy in meetings irks Senate

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Power has decided to write a letter to the Senate Chairman over the continued absence of the Federal Minister for Energy and Secretary Power in the meetings and expressed annoyance over the appointments of members in the boards of power generations companies.


A meeting of Senate Standing on Power was held on Wednesday under the chairmanship of Senator Saif Ullah Abro to discuss and review several issues of power sector pertain to appointments and promotions in GENCOs, DISCOs, the performance of boards of power companies, circular debt, the policy of free electricity supply to employees of power companies etc.


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Abro said that the Power Division had not shown seriousness towards attending the meetings of the committee while the Federal Minister for Energy and Secretary Power remained absent in several meetings of the committee.


Abro adjourned the proceedings of the meeting for half an hour in protest, saying since both minister secretary power had not appeared in seven meetings of the committee, so this meeting was adjourned in protest. Similarly, Senator Hidayat Ullah and Prince Ahmed Omar also walked out of the meeting. Later, Abro assured the members of the senate committee that attendance of all stakeholders will be ensured during the next meeting


Expressing serious concerns over the appointments of members in the boards of directors (BoDs) of the power generation companies, Abro said that several questions will arise if he shares details about the boards of the power companies. He said that around 42 officials of a power distributing company (DISCO) are part of BoDs of various DISCOs. He said six members of BoD of Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (HESCO)  are affiliated with K-Electric.  Favourite persons of Tabish Gauhar, SAPM should not be included in BoDs , said Abro.


The Committee, during the meeting, recommended that one member should only be part of BoD of a single company and priority should be given to local officials for inclusion in BoD of a company.


Officials of the Power Division informed the senate committee that they had applied for the post of managing director of National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC). However, there was not a single suitable candidate who should be recommended for this important position. They also said that the power division has approached the  Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) for a new name as PEPCO (Pakistan Electric Power Company) is about to close. They said there was a controversy among K-Electric, Sui Southern Gas Company, Karachi Water Board regarding dues while improvement in payment of dues of K-Electric is continued. Only a few clauses are left to be resolved for reaching an agreement regarding payment of K-Electric dues. The Power Division has sought explanations from the concerned DISCOs for sending bills of more than 30 days, said Additional Secretary Power.


There was an exchange of harsh words between Senator Abro and the K-Electric chief during this meeting over the speaking of the K-Electric chief without getting permission from the chairman of the Senate committee.


Present on the occasion, Monis Alvi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of K-Electric, tried to speak when the issues related to K-Electric were under discussion. However, the Senate Standing Committee chairman snubbed him and asked him to speak only when he is allowed to speak. Upon this, the K-Electric chief said that since the issues of K-Electric are under discussion so he should be heard and the K-Electric has to collect large amounts from different organizations.  Upon this, the Senate Standing Committee chairman also warned CEO K-Electric to remain silent otherwise he will call the staff to take him out of the committee meeting room. CEO K-Electric said that he will leave the meeting room.


About the issue of free unit supply to the employees of power companies, Senator Fida Muhammad said that power companies’ employees should be given an additional amount in salary instead of giving free units of electricity. Abro said that he wanted to have a check on free electricity supply to the employees of DISCOs as they are allegedly also involved in electricity theft.




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