Senate Panel Orders NEPRA to Solve Overbilling & Load-Shedding Problems


A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmad on Tuesday.

A detailed briefing on the working and performance of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) and the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) was received by the committee members.

The Public Petition PP-3745 pertaining to PTDC, submitted by Malik Muhammad Khan, Chairman MK Pakistan, referred by Chairman Senate on 29th June 2021, was also considered.

The meeting commenced with welcoming words by the Chairman Committee and underlined that the committee would work above party lines, with its primary role as a Parliamentary oversight to assist the departments in service and delivery for the common public.

While briefing on the Redressal of Complaints and Enforcement Activities (Oil, LPG, and CNG), the Chairman OGRA apprised the committee members that a formal website has been designed to register online complaints. He further informed the committee that complaints can also be registered through phone calls, which are received by the registrar of the relevant province and forwarded to the Delegatory Officer (DO). The complaint is to be resolved within 90 days, and the decision is binding for the affectees, he informed.

Chairman OGRA informed the committee that so far, 2,763 million complainants had been provided relief. He further apprised the committee that a total number of 1,566 complaints were received through Pakistan Citizen Portal. Out of which, 1,389 have been resolved, and 25 have been forwarded to departments for action.

The committee was also informed that 1,137 complaints had been received through Clean and Green Pakistan. Out of which, 1,000 are oil-related complaints, and 137 are CNG-related complaints. He further informed that eighteen fines of Rs. 50,000 have been imposed following these complaints. The Chairman Committee asked to set a criterion to seek whether or not such services have increased or decreased the satisfaction of the common public.

The committee members and the officials of OGRA had a detailed discussion on the disparity in the oil pricing and the criteria through which the oil prices are increased. Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmed asked the OGRA Chairman as to what is the wisdom in recommending an increase of Rs. 10 to 15 at prices of petrol and diesel, which is later reduced by the government, thereby adding insult to the injuries of the common people. The price hike in LPG within two weeks is considered a matter of serious concern. The Chairman OGRA was asked to furnish a report to the committee within a fortnight, showing tangible improvements in the performance of his department.

The OGRA officials informed that the LC evaluates the price relying on the International Crude Market, along with variable taxes. The committee was informed that OGRA has been given a mandate by the Federal Government to notify the prices of Kerosene. Ethanol (E-10) since June 2006 and Inland Freight Equalization Margins (IFEM) since September 2008. The committee members lamented that the high octane product has not been given in one price on different petrol stations.

Senator Kamil Ali Agha added that the common public is compromising on the quality and the quantity of Petroleum. The Officials informed the committee that 70 percent petroleum and 40 percent diesel are imported. A new refinery policy is also being introduced to redress such complaints.

The chairman committee directed the OGRA officials to introduce a mechanism for the check and balance of disparity in oil pricing, the misconduct in the services provided by the petrol stations, and the use of impurities in petroleum products.

Senator Engr. Rukhsana Zuberi raised the point on the grant of license to the oil industry. The OGRA officials informed the committee that if the stock cannot be stored above 20 days then the license is not provided. The committee members stressed that the license, which has been granted under certain terms and conditions, should be fulfilled, and violation of the same shall result in revocation of the license by the issuing authority. The Chairman Committee emphasized assisting in the provision of the legislative power in this regard.

The Committee also received a comprehensive briefing on the working and performance of the NEPRA. The NEPRA officials informed the Committee that 40 percent of NEPRA losses have come down by 21 percent.

The committee members showed resentment on the poor working of the WAPDA office/authorities. Senator Khalida Ateeb expressed her displeasure that the increasing Electricity bill is resulting in the increasing miseries of the common people. The committee members discussed in detail the problem of load-shedding and malfunctioning of transformers, leaving the common public in pain and agony. The Chairman Committee directed the NEPRA officials to prepare a report within a fortnight on the initiatives taken on overbilling and repair of transformers to rectify the problems of the public. He also urged Chairman NEPRA to improve the performance of his department, which is far from a satisfactory standard.

A detailed discussion on the Public Petition PP-3745 pertaining to PTDC, submitted by Malik Muhammad Khan, Chairman MK Pakistan referred by Chairman Senate on 29th June 2021, was considered. The Chairman Committee deferred the Petition for 10th August, with the direction to the official of the PTDC to consult The PTDC Board for a way forward in a legal framework on the disputed land and give a report in the next meeting for further deliberation.

The meeting was attended by Senator Saifullah Sarwar Khan Nyazee, Kamil Ali Agha, Prince Ahmed Omer Ahmed Zai, Khalida Ateeb, Engr. Rukhasana Zuberi, Naseebullah Bazai, State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Ali Muhammad Khan. The officials of the Cabinet Division, OGRA, NEPRA, and PTDC were also in attendance.

Source: Pro Pakistani