Nepra: ghosts of the report past


A collective effort is needed to bring stability to real sectors of the economy, as policymaking relies on clarity and timely availability of data. However, what we see in Pakistan is ghosts of reports past continuing to cloud focus on our present and future- especially in the energy sector.

In February, power sector regulator released its annual report, state of industry report, and performance evaluation reports on generation, transmission, and distribution. Most of the reports came just before the elections and the last one came out just a few days ago.

However, we have to look at the fact that the reports, which cover the period FY23, are being released almost near the last quarter of FY24. Hence, much of the information may have already become irrelevant.

Recall for instance that the NEPRA State of Industry Report showed limited change to recovery ratios despite government price hikes. This was attributed to recovery of arrears from government customers by many DISCOs who were still recovering past debts. The SOI report states that recoveries stood around 92 percent, but the DISCO performance evaluation report stated a figure of about 86 percent.

These kinds of variations can have huge impacts on the way we estimate the financial burdens which is also critical at a time when the government is gearing up to negotiate with the IMF. Similarly, the evaluation report on operational power plants castigated KE and national grid for having low share of renewables, connecting the sluggishness with the long-term negative impact on the environment and the customer.

However, in the regulator’s own decision on KE’s FCA petition for June 2023, member Sindh NEPRA called for an internal explanation to be presented on the reason for delays in RFPs that have been submitted by the company, while stating that the induction of renewable energy can reduce Energy Purchase Price and induct clean energy into the system and above all reduce the burden of foreign exchange on national exchequer. Meanwhile, the government also continuously fails to attract bids for its 600 MW Kot Addu-Muzaffargarh project, for the fifth time in a row.

Since July 2023, the government has signed off various agreements to streamline the legacy issues that it had been facing with KE. The power acquisition program for future renewable energy induction was also addressed in a public hearing recently.

In a crucial sector such as energy, which requires long-term planning, foresight, and collaboration to succeed, policymakers have access to hundreds of individual analyses using different sources to arrive at wildly different conclusions.

If there is any intention to create a stable, sustainable energy ecosystem, it must begin with timely reporting of transparent data and providing access to accurate information that can be used to drive things forward. Otherwise, Pakistan will continue to backpedal relying on edits and revisions – never truly being in a position to address the challenges of the present, let alone the future.

Related posts