By: Tariq Rana
ISLAMABAD: The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) while declaring the electricity distribution system of Bahria Town Rawalpindi/Islamabad as illegal, has directed to Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) to immediately take over the electricity supply network of Bahria Town Private Limited (BTPL).
The regulatory body NEPRA in its written order dated February 24 has expressed dismay over power distribution company IESCO for not implementing the decisions of the Authority since last couple of months despite knowing the facts that the Authority has already cancelled the distribution license of BTPL.
The Authority has also directed the BTPL to stop raising extra charges from consumers of Bahria Town Rawalpindi/Islamabad with immediate effect and refund the whole extra amount already charged by the company and submit the report within 10 days.
According to the documents available with daily Capital Mail NEPRA in its correspondence with the power distribution company; IESCO said that the Authority is in receipt of numerous complaints from the residents of Bahria Town Rawalpindi/Islamabad and registered a complaint, BTPL-02/02/2021.
The documents revealed that the Authority informed the IESCO in about cancellation of distribution license of BTPL on 20th October 2020 and directed to initiate the process of handing/taking over of electrical network of BTPL and also to enter in overhauling and maintenance (O&M) agreement with Bahria Town company in accordance with NEPRA Regulations 2015.
The Authority also directed the power distribution company IESCO to extend the service territory and include the area served by the Bahria Town’s distribution network in the past, thereby declaring the residents of Bahria Town Rawalpindi/Islamabad as consumers of IESCO.
The Authority also directed the distribution company through written order #NEPRA / DG (Lic)/LAD-02/4845-49 on 29th January 2021 to complete the process of handing/taking over the electrical network of BTPL immediately and execute an O&M agreement with Bahria Town and send the same to the Authority for approval within seven days.
The NEPRA while expressing dismay over using delaying tactics by the IESCO said that due to the negligence of power distribution company, BTPL started receiving exorbitant charges, Rs. 4 per unit additional from the residents of Bahria Town Rawalpindi/Islamabad. The Authority believed that the distribution of electricity in Bahria Enclave by BPTL is also illegal as the said territory came under services of IESCO.
The Authority has directed the chief executive officer (CEO) of IESCO to update on the directions without any further delay. In case of non-receipt of response by IESCO, the Authority will initiate legal proceeding against the company under NEPRA Act and other enabling rules and regulations.
NEPRA in written order # NEPRA/DG (CAD) / TCD-12 / 9722-24, addressing to chief executive officer of BTPL directed to stop raising extra charges from consumers of Bahria Town Rawalpindi/Islamabad with immediate effect and refund the entire excessive amount already charged by the company and submit the report within 10 days.
According to the details, BTPL was charging excessive amount in electricity bills Rs. 4 per unit without any justification since December 2020. NEPRA took serious notice on the complaints received by residents of Bahria Town Rawalpindi/Islamabad claiming that BTPL is charging excessive amount in electricity bills.
The Authority further directed BTPL to provide its Audited Financial Statements, audited by Category “A” audit firm as per the State Bank of Pakistan panel of Auditors, since grant of its Distribution License in order to assess the claims of IESCO.
Foregoing in view and the fact that BTPL’s distribution license has now been cancelled, the Tariff Petitions filed by BTPL as a Distribution licensee as well as a Supplier, for determination of Distribution and Supply of Power Tariffs for the FY 2018-19 and FY 2019-20 has already been declared invalid in a decision by the NEPRA.
The Authority understands that consequent upon the cancellation of BTPL License, and per the submissions made by BTPL and IESCO in Islamabad High Court (TI-IC), the BTPL Network is to be taken over by the IESCO.
IESCO, however, has shown serious reservations on the distribution network of BTPL by submitting that significant investment is required for upgradation, rehabilitation and renovation of the same.
IESCO also claimed that BTPL has enormously profited from operation of the Distribution Business over ten years period without any investment of these profits or investments up-to the required and necessary level to maintain/ upgrade the distribution system and services to keep pace with increasing load/demand and cater for the deterioration of the system.
IESCO for the purpose has estimated an amount of Rs.2.132 billion and requested that all profits earned by BTPL to date be returned to IESCO together with compensation for the lost opportunity.
The Authority had initiated separate proceedings for the handing over / taking over of the BTPL network, whereby all the points raised by IESCO will be addressed on merit.