ISLAMABAD - While expressing reservations over the proposed amendments in NEPRA act, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) has said that after one year finally the draft has been shared with the regulator.

“We have received the draft amendment after one year and as a regulator and custodian the government is required to incorporate their views in the amendments,” said Nepra Chairman Tariq Sadozai while briefing the National Assembly standing committee on Energy. The Standing Committee on Energy met with MNA Ch Bilal Ahmed Virk in the chair and considered “The Regulation of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Power (Amendment) Bill, 2017” and “The Private Power and Infrastructure Board (Amendment) Bill, 2017”.

The Nepra chairman said that they have reservations and are reviewing the draft amendments which will enable them to add their input into it. “Grant us some time as we have yesterday received the draft and will inform the committee about our convergence and divergence points,” he added. The committee, therefore, deferred both the bills till its next meeting for further discussion. The committee has directed that Ministry of Power may hold a meeting with concerned stake holders to remove lacunas in the purposed legislation if any, and report back to the committee within one week so that the committee could consider them accordingly.

The Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) managing director was grilled over the firing of lower grade employees from a particular labour union. Shehryar Afridi alleged that 16 labour of Insaf Jafakash Union were terminated from jobs. The general secretary of Insaf Union was transferred from Karachi to Nawabshah as a punishment and was asked that if he give in writing that he has no connection with Insaf Union he will be transferred back to Karachi, Afridi alleged.

The MD said that majority of the people fired were not the employees of SSGC and instead they were working for the third party contractor. The committee questioned that if they were they were working for the 3rd party contractor then why their transfer/termination orders were issued on the SSGCL letter pad. The MD failed to reply the query.

The MD said that they have to run the organisation commercially and has to make rightsizing as the company was oversized by almost 4,000 employees. However, when pointed by members of the committee that how many top ranking officials of the company have been removed from jobs under the rightsizing drive, the MD was silent again.

The committee expressed concern over the termination of contractual employees by gas distributing companies and pointed out that although the matter is pending before the court for adjudication, the concerned authorities may reconsider their cases on humanitarian ground under existing legislation and treat them equally to avoid any discrimination.

The committee directed that the Ministry of Power may direct to all electric supply representatives to keep proper liaison with the parliamentarian of their respective areas to make them aware about the completed, ongoing and proposed electric schemes of their consequences so that development schemes could be implemented in a real sense.

Private Power and Infrastructure Board (Amendment) Bill, 2017, Sukkur Electric Power Company (Sepco) and Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco) briefing was deffered for the next meeting of the committee. Besides Minister of State for Energy Abid Sher Ali, MNA Malik Ihtebar Khan, MNA Rana Afzaal Hussain, MNA Mian Tariq Mehmood, MNA Ch Khalid Javaid Warraich, MNA Shahjehan Muneer Mangrio, MNA Shehryar Afridi, MNA Dr Imran Khattak, MNA Abdul Waseem and MNA Sajid Ahmed attended the meeting.