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    PAC directs to refund Rs 9bln to electricity consumers

    March 13, 2023 - Frontier Star


      The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Thursday ordered Ministry of Energy to refund extravagantly minted 9 billion rupees as Neelum Jhelum Surcharge to electricity consumers.

      Meeting of National Assembly's Public Accounts Committee was held Thursday. Member National Assembly Noor Alam Khan chaired it.

      At the outset, Chairman Committee showed sever dismay over 'incompetence' of Ministry of energy, and stated that despite heavy load-shedding, billions were minted unjustly by the ministry.

      The committee has taken notice of delay in payments worth billions of rupees by several government departments.

      Secretary Energy, Chairman NTDC and CEOs of several DISCOs were present in the meeting. The meeting reviewed audit reports of Ministry of Energy's Financial Year 2021-22. Audit officials told committee that despite being constrained by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), DISCOs had minted extra 9 billion from electricity consumers as 'Neelum Jhelum Surcharge.' It was revealed that the amount is still being possessed by the Neelum Jhelum Company. While showing severe dismay, the PAC ordered Ministry of energy to return amount to consumers. The committee members directed Secretary Energy to adjust the amount in next month's electricity bills.

      Audit officials told Committee members that national exchequer had to bear losses worth 34 billion rupees since the ministry was unable to collect fines imposed for not completing several construction projects timely. Upon this, Committee members said incompetence by the ministry of energy was causing country's circular debts to increase massively.

      Chairman Committee Noor Alam Khan while addressing Secretary Energy said department's spending was increasing day by day despite heavy electricity load-shedding. Chairman revealed that he was a victim of overbilling himself. Noor Alam Khan inquired about the implementations on committee's earlier directions of registering corrupt officers in ACR. To this, the secretary replied fresh legislation in this regard had barred ministry of energy from taking any action against corrupt officers. However, he told committee that all powers were handed over to DISCOs and the ministry was in touch with them.


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