NEPRA forms committee to probe Jan 23 power outage

After failure of Prime Minister’s designated inquiry committee in unearthing reasons of the January 23’s countrywide power breakdown, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) on Thursday constituted a committee to thoroughly investigate the matter.

The power regulator said it had taken a serious notice of the outage and acquired a preliminary report from National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) and K-Electric.

Subsequently, a briefing/presentation by NTDC, KE, WAPDA and all distribution companies (DISCOs) was held on January 31, 2023, wherein, the companies submitted their point of view before the authority.

“During the briefing, it was observed that stances taken by the entities are contradictory to each other and no one was ready to take responsibility of the incident,” NEPRA said.

The authority’s probing committee will thoroughly investigate the matter in the light of NEPRA Laws, Rules and Regulations. The body shall conduct the said inquiry and present a detailed report to the authority in 15 working days.

The five-member committee will comprise of Imran Kazi, senior advisor monitoring and enforcement (M&E), NEPRA as convener, Syed Aqib Ali Shah, deputy director (M&E), NEPRA’s secretary and three market experts including Nadir Khoso, Ghulam Abbas Memon, and Syed Safeer Hussain.

It is to be noted that soon after the power breakdown, PM Shehbaz Sharif had ordered an inquiry into the matter and formed a special committee, asking it to submit its report in a week but no report has been furnished.

A few days back, The News asked the minister for Petroleum Musadik Malik about the status of the inquiry was, on which he apprised that he had received the report and would present it to the premier before making it public. It has been around one-and-a-half-month of that incident, but no report has been made public.

On February 7, a senate standing committee on Power also questioned a non-serious attitude of the Power Division in investigating the blackout.

The panel expressed its no-trust in the inquiry committee that the prime minister had constituted to ascertain the causes of power breakdown in the country fix responsibility and recommend remedial measures. The premier, in a Cabinet meeting, after not getting the report in stipulated time also expressed anger over the Power Division’s poor response.

NEPRA chairman Tauseef H. Farooqi, in a committee meeting earlier this month, said Nepra was probing why isolation was not done at the time of breakdown and why North and South systems were not separated at the time of breakdown. He said power restoration was a matter of four hours, but took 48 hours.

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