Govt backtracks on proposal to ban free electricity to officers

ISLAMABAD  -  The Ministry of Water Resources and Wapda have opposed the govern­ment move of imposing ban on free units for officer ranks of power sec­tor, saying that it will bring no sav­ings to the exchequer.

Following the opposition from the Ministry of Water Resources and WAPDA, the government has apparently backtracked from its early move of banning free units to grade 17-21 employees of WAPDA and Discos, and now is considering a proposal for the monetization of up to Rs 37,862 to the officer ranks of WAPDA, Gencos, Discos, NTDC and PITC, official source told The Nation yesterday.

The source said that after the opposition from the stakehold­ers, the Federal Cabinet also de­ferred the consideration of sum­mary presented by the Ministry of Energy in this regard.

The source said that the em­ployees of 10 Power Distri­bution Companies (DISCOs), four Generation Companies (GENCO), National Transmis­sion and Despatch Company (NTDC) and Power Information Technology Company (PITC) under the administrative con­trol of the Power Division are being provided free electricity facility in the shape of units.

As part of service benefit, the facility of free electricity was al­lowed in 1974 and continued to the employees of corporatized companies i.e. DISCOs, GEN­COs, NTDC, PITC and WAPDA till date. The units are charged in the monthly bills and uncon­sumed units are carried forward in the following months. The ex­penditure is booked in the ac­counts of respective DISCO, be­sides the amount of Sales Tax is also paid by the respective com­pany. The employee pays only TV fees. In case of employees of NTDC the respective DISCO bills the amount to NTDC. 

The Senate Standing Commit­tee on Power and the Public Ac­counts Committee (PAC) had recommended that the facility of free electricity being provid­ed to the employees of power sector might be monetized, and the same might be paid with monthly salary to the employ­ees. The Power Division pro­posed to the Federal Cabinet that in the first phase, the elec­tricity facility to in-service offi­cers (BS-17 and above) of DIS­COs, GENCOs, NTDC and PITC may be monetized and the same shall stand frozen.

It was proposed that hence­forth, all the in-service em­ployees shall pay the electrici­ty bills issued by the respective DISCOs against the reference numbers already available with the DISCOs. In its comment, NEPRA has recommended that utility allowance may be al­lowed to the officials instead of free units/ monetization. In its comment, the Finance Divi­sion was of the view that free electricity may not be grant­ed and discontinued. Howev­er, Ministry of Water Resourc­es and WAPDA have stated that the proposed arrangement will result in no saving. 

According the source, the total number of current and retired grade 1 to 21 employees of the power sector is 189,171, which includes 173,200 employees of Grade 1-16 and 15971 employ­ees of Grade 17 to 21. The em­ployees of 1 to 21 grades are en­titled to 417,105,900 free units costing around Rs 11.51 per an­num. It has been proposed that in the first phase, 17 to 21 pay scale employees of non-genera­tion and generation sector will get monetization instead of free units. It has been recommend­ed that grade 17 of non-gener­ation side employees, who are entitled for 450 monthly free units, will get Rs 9,397, Grade 18, for the 600 free units, will get Rs13,700, Grade 19, enti­tled to 880 units, will get Rs 23,070, Grade 20&21, who are entitled to 1100 and 1300 free units, will get Rs 30,818 and Rs 37,862 per month respectively as a monetization against their free units.

Similarly, it has been recom­mended that grade 17 of gener­ation side employees, who are entitled for 650 monthly free units, will get Rs 15,215, Grade 18, for 700 free units, will get Rs16,730, Grade 19, entitled to 1000 units, will get Rs 27,296, Grade 20&21, who are entitled to 1100 and 1300 free units, will get Rs 30,818 and Rs 37,862 per month respectively as a mone­tization against their free units.

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