Senate body says KE must clear its books before sale2 min read

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ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Power said on Thursday that K-Electric (KE) has to clear all its books and ledgers before the utility’s sale to Shanghai Electric.

The committee, chaired by Senator Fida Muhammad, was informed about the ongoing financial dispute between KE and various government entities.

The KE management said the company owed around Rs50 billion to the government in different heads but at the same time various public departments and companies have to pay Rs65bn to the power utility.

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It was suggested that there should be a debt swap to clear off pending dues on all sides. While the committee members were nodding to the idea, it was opposed by the bureaucracy.

The committee was informed that due to the dispute there was no power purchase agreement between KE and the Central Power Purchase Company. KE obtained a stay order to maintain a status quo for three years from the High Court of Sindh.

Also Read: Petroleum Division gears up to deal with likely gas crisis in Punjab

Secretary Power Irfan Elahi said KE has to pay to the National Despatch and Transmission Company, Central Power Purchase Company, and Sui Southern Gas Company, etc. which are under or related to the federal government.

“On the other hand there are some subsidy amounts that the Ministry of Finance has to clear. There are pending bills of Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) but why should the federal government clear such bills,” he added.

Responding to a question about how a crisis-like situation could be avoided, the secretary power said the best way out was to have a bilateral agreement between KE and government entities.

“We suggest that there has to be a bilateral agreement settling books between KE and the SSGC, and likewise with each entity,” Mr Elahi said. “But I suggest that is possible only if the Senate Committee takes the initiative and directs the finance ministry to hold a joint meeting of KE, Power Division, and the Petroleum Division to resolve the issue. This matter cannot remain on stay order forever,” secretary power added.

The committee noted that the matter had to be resolved especially when KE is set for selloff.

The committee directed secretary power and the officials of Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) to devise a workable solution to reduce electricity thefts from the country. The Pepco officials were also directed to present the details of cases filed against the staff and officers involved in electricity thefts in all power distribution companies.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2018

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