Centre fails to pay KP Rs70m for Machai electricity

PESHAWAR: Despite completion of 2.6megawatt Machai Hydel Power Project (MHPP) three and half years ago, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government has provided more than 13 million units of electricity to the national grid without receiving payment and striking agreement with the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA).

The province is experiencing power cuts and facing severe financial constraints despite spending Rs683.50 million on the construction of the power project.

The provincial government had inaugurated Machai Hydro Power Station in Mardan in November 2017 after it formally started production and contributing electricity to the National Grid.

According to sources in the KP’s Energy Department, NEPRA has signed no agreement with the KP government for the purchase of electricity from Machai Hydel Power Project. However, so far, more than 13 million units of electricity have been supplied to the national grid from this project for which the federal government has to pay Rs70.3 million to the province.

Sources further said NEPRA has sought all the information, including comprehensive report of the project and report of the committee set up for this project for concluding power purchase agreement.

During a meeting between the officials of the provincial government and the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO) on March 18, the former had requested the latter to assist the province in agreement with the center for payment of production from the Machai project.

Sources added PESCO has agreed to sign the agreement itself and write a letter to NEPRA after which an agreement would be concluded.

But after the meeting, PESCO could not contact NEPRA due to a nationwide lockdown and thus the electricity generated by the project is being supplied to the national grid but its payment is being provided to the provincial government.

Adviser to the Chief Minister on Power and Energy, Hameedullah Khan and spokesperson of the KP government, Ajmal Wazir were contacted several times to know the government’s position, but they could not be reached.

According to sources in the KPs Finance department, the government that is already facing financial difficulties has postponed several important development projects in the province due to non-payment of net profit of electricity by the federation.

In the past, billions of rupees were transferred under net profit of electricity from the centre (the government of one political party) to KP (the government of other political party), but now when the province and the centre are being governed by the same party, the province has been kept deprived of its right to net hydel profit.

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