NEPRA under pressure to announce tariff for IPPs switching to coal

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif along with the Ministry for Water and Power is exerting pressure on National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) to make a decision before August 10 by determining tariff for old Independent Power Projects (IPPs) which are about to convert to coal fuel. 
Sources in the power sector told Daily Times on Wednesday that both PM and the Ministry for Water and Power were exerting serious pressure on NEPRA to immediately take decisions to determine tariff for IPPs which are likely to convert to coal power. They said that the Ministry for Water and Power has written a letter to NEPRA and told it about PM’s serious annoyance over delay in issuing a tariff for the IPPs that are set to convert on coal soon.
A source in the power ministry said that the ministry in its letter to NEPRA has talked about a meeting that was chaired by the PM on August 4 to review and find solutions to the ongoing energy crisis. The PM in this meeting expressed serious annoyance over delay in the decision regarding IPPs tariff. He said, “The ministry, in its letter, has given references of the orders of PM and advised the regulator to implement the advice and take a decision within three days prior to August 10 and also submit a report with the power ministry regarding tariff of IPPs.” 
It was also learnt that the NEPRA was not favouring the conversion of old IPPs on coal power. While NEPRA cannot take a hasty decision on tariff as the matter was worth billions of rupees. “NEPRA has to deeply analyse technical details of plants and business plans as well before any such decision,” officials said. 
A senior official at the Ministry for Water and Power, on the condition of anonymity, said that NEPRA had already forwarded a report in this very regard to the Council of Common Interests (CCI) besides informing the federal government over the significance of matter. “To NEPRA, the conversion of old IPPs to coal power is against the interests of power consumers while it had already issued decision on advance tariff for coal power plants only because of incessant pressure from the PM House,” added the official. 
“NEPRA was pressurised on May 19 that the PM would visit NEPRA’s website on May 20 at 14:00 hours, so the authority at any cost must issue a decision regarding revised and attractive advance tariff,” a source said. He also said that it was a very difficult task for a regulatory authority to take comprehensive and detailed decisions, the regulator succumbed to the pressure of PM and uploaded only a one page decision on its website, which in the history of NEPRA happened for the very first time.  However, on May 26, NEPRA issued a detailed decision on the advance tariff, which comprised of 74 pages,” the source added.

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