IPPs strongly criticise head of govt’s panel on power sector audit

ISLAMABAD: The independent power producers (IPPs), the major stakeholders in power generation, have written a letter to federal minister for energy Omar Ayub Khan, strongly condemning Muhammad Ali, head of the government’s committee for power sector audit, circular debt resolution and future roadmap over his alleged unprecedented bias.

The letter stated that Ali expressed his unjust bias against IPPs on media, despite his past was known to everyone, and his appointment as head of the government’s committee has not only stigmatised the entire process but also made the report questionable.

Meanwhile, the IPPs have also rejected the allegations leveled against them in the report of the government’s committee that was headed by Muhammad Ali, being disseminated in the media.

The government’s committee came up with the report to disclose the alleged profits generated by the IPPs that caused a campaign against the IPPs on national media.

Independent Power Producers Advisory Council (IPPAC) pleaded in the letter to the federal minister for energy on April 15, 2020, arguing that how could one expect a fair opinion from a person that already had a negative perception against the IPPs, which he admitted publicly. This not only discredited the committee’s report but also the entire process. The letter provided a proof that committee’s head Ali in the past allegedly used to speak unjustly against the IPPs.

The letter also mentioned the fact that Ali, on January 11, 2019, in a TV show, “Dunya Kamran Khan Kay Sath”, expressed his bias against IPPs, accusing them for overbilling and receiving excessive payments without any proof whatsoever. It said regardless of his preconceived biases against IPPs, Muhammad Ali was appointed as the chairman of the government’s committee for power sector audit, circular debt resolution and future roadmap.

The IPPAC letter also said, “It is to express our shock and disappointment as we have learned from various media reports that the government’s committee for power sector audit, circular debt resolution and future roadmap has submitted a report to the prime minister a few days ago, without contacting the independent power producers (IPPs) for their opinion on the report.”

The letter stated that the selective portions of the report leaked to the media was not only defaming the IPPs with false allegations but also posed serious hurdles for any future investment in this sector. It said the IPPs had invested when the country was facing severe loadshedding problem that lasted around 14-18 hours a day, and criticising such exercise was highly disappointing and discouraging for the national and international investors. The IPPAC also requested the federal minister to provide the report to IPPs at the earliest to review the veracity of its contents.

The letter stated the IPPs strictly acted in accordance and compliance with the legal bonding and the law of the country, though the government through various committees or bodies was consistently breaching the terms of reference (ToRs). It added that despite the prevailing circumstances, the IPPs were still in good lent to help people and supported the government to provide one of the basic necessities.

The IPPs have categorically rejected the allegations leveled against them in the report, being disseminated on the national media. The letter stated that the IPPs were set up under strictly regulated environment and had gone through a very stringent process before being commissioned. This process was carried out in a fair and fully transparent manner in accordance with the approved policies of the federal government. All invoicing were submitted and payments being received by IPPs were audited by NEPRA as well as the power purchaser and strictly in accordance with the power purchase agreements and tariffs determined by the NEPRA.

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