A parliamentary panel on Tuesday recommended that the headquarters of National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) should be shifted to Islamabad from Lahore in a bid to manage its affairs easily.

The Senate Standing Committee on Power, chaired by Senator Fida Mohammad Khan, also discussed allocations for the power sector under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2020-21.

Speaking on the occasion, Senator Mirza Mohammad Afridi said that a Japanese company wanted to invest in the power sector of Pakistan. In this regard, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) has already issued a licence to the company but due to lack of interest of the Power Division it could not start work.

He said that they were working hard to bring investment to the country but due to lack of interest on the part of institutions, investors were pulling out of the country.

Power Division secretary told the committee that the main issue with Makran was connectivity with the national grid and they were working on connecting it.

Besides, he said that a 300-megawatt coal-fired power plant was being established in Gwadar under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply in the coastal region.

When the committee chairman asked about details of a proposed 50MW solar power plant, the Power Division secretary said that in the next meeting details of the project would be furnished.

Regarding the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco), Senator Khan said that parliamentarians and common people were equally sick of the bad performance and response of Pesco.

Senator Bahramand Tangi said that people were ready to remove illegal connections and install meters but Pesco was not willing to clear them as they were a source of income for the company.

Pesco was sending bills of Rs5 lakh without meters, he said, adding that the illegal connection culture could not be eliminated without the installation of meters. He said that corruption of millions of rupees was being done in the name of repairing transformers.

Meanwhile, Pesco CEO said that in the last six months 81,000 new meters had been installed in the company’s region. The committee chairman emphasised that in order to eliminate illegal connections, Pesco should install meters for each and every electricity consumer.

Along with Pesco, the affairs of Tribal Areas Electric Supply Company (Tesco) and Sukkur Electric Power Company (Sepco) should be streamlined, the chairman added.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 3rd, 2021.

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