ISLAMABAD-The caretaker government has no mandate to transfer the ownership and control of power distribution companies (Discos) to the provinces, which will burden the provinces with the losses of hundreds of billions of rupees.
Neither the caretakers in centre nor in the provinces are mandated to give or take the burden of hundreds of billions of rupees loses to the provinces, official source told The Nation. Only an elected government with public mandate will be empowered to take such a vital decision, the source said.
The caretaker government has once again raised the matter of transferring the ownership and control of Discos to the respective provincial governments, subject to provincial concurrence. All of a sudden, the caretaker government has decided to place the matter of provincialisation once again before the Federal Cabinet for consideration, the source said.
However, the source said that it is not domain of the federal government to decide regarding the provincialisation of Discos. It is the domain of the Council of Common Interest (CCI) to decide regarding such important matters, the source said.
During the tenure of PML(N) government (2014-2018), the federal government had tried to handover the ownership of the Peshawar Electric Supply Company to the then PTI government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the source maintained. However, the provincial government of PTI had refused to take over ownership and control of distribution company only, without the control over power generation, the source added.
Even in the PDM government, only Sindh had shown conditional readiness for taking the ownership of the Discos, while the remaining provinces were reluctant to own the distribution system, said the source. In the last days of its tenure, the PDM government had moved a summary for transferring power distribution companies (Discos) to the provinces to the Council of Common Interests (CCI) for approval.
The matter falls in the purview of the CCI and its approval is required for transfer of ownership of DISCOs to the provincial governments based on subsequent agreements between the respectable provincial and federal governments. The CCI will also approve policy framework for the transfer of the ownership and control of Discos to the respectable provinces.
A draft policy framework was also distributed among the stakeholders. As per the draft, the federal government shall transfer the shareholding of the Discos located in each province to the respective provincial governments on the basis of mutual agreement with each provincial government including agreement on the number and/or sequence of each transfer.
The modalities of transfer shall be worked out between the government (GoP) and each provincial government, including: commercial terms of transfer; asset and liabilities of each DISCO, agreement on allocation of current and future liabilities of each DISCO, agreement on present commitments of the DISCOs with the GoP, etc.
Agreement on present and future capacity commitments, transmission related issues, electricity trade, and compliance with national power policies and the generation capacity expansion plans is also part of the draft policy framework. Similarly, the draft includes agreement with respect to past and current employees of the DISCOs. The federal government shall make necessary amendments to the NEPRA Act, the rules/regulations made there under, and any other laws, rules, or regulations if required any to affect the transfer. The federal and provincial governments shall obtain the necessary regulatory approvals to carry out the transfer of Discos.