ISLAMABAD

While hearing tariff petition of Chinese company, National Electric Power Regulatory Authority on Tuesday gave another ten days time to China Machinery Engineering Corporation to submit further evidence, strengthening fears that under immense pressure the authority would approve excessive tariff.

Despite offering world’s one of the most lucrative tariff, 8.25 cents for the Thar coal project, the authority has been approached to approve a tariff of 12.04 cents for the same coal fired power plant to be established in Pind Dadan Khan.

The authority heard the petition in the hall of authority amid thin presence of stakeholders. The company pleaded that the company aims to set up 300 MW power plant, worth $589 million in Punjab province. CMEC has sought cost plus coal tariff, despite the fact that Nepra has already approved a very profitable coal tariff. The company sought levelised tariff of 12.04 over the period of 30 years.

Levelised tariff is average tariff of total life span of the project. The plant would be established at Salt Range in Pind Dadan Khan, Punjab province and would use indigenous coal available in Salt Range. During the hearing company said that more tariff is sought as the coal at the proposed site require further purification; project require Chinese engineers, and money is required for their housing, mining and transportation also require further expenses which increase project cost.

Since there was no opponent voice so many questions remained unanswered.

The coal tariff announced by the authority has been widely criticised that allegedly the authority approved world’s most lucrative tariff on the pressure of government. This company is now seeking even more than the announced Thar coal project, asking for 4 cents more than the announced Thar coal tariff. If the quality of coal in Pind Dadan Khan is not up to the mark, why company don’t establish its project in Thar region, where government is already offering incentives, and where coal is considered to be best quality. According to sources the company has engaged local consultants who have offered high kick backs to top officials.

Sources claim that it was the confidence of investors that many officials of the company were present at the hearing whereas normally two or three representatives participate. Sources claim that it was the immense pressure from the government and kick backs that the authority admitted the application and after admitting in less than a week, called for the hearing, and despite the fact that company failed to justify asked high tariff, it gave the company further ten days. After ten days you will know that authority has approved the tariff, as it approved coal tariff, recently, sources claimed.

It is pertinent to mention that the company is asking for special incentives, infrastructure and exorbitant tariff to generate 300 MW only. Nepra officials denied the allegations of pressure and kickbacks and said that the case was admitted on merit and during the hearing the company presented the case.