ISLAMABAD: In a major development, the government has changed the structure and fabrics of the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) with reduction in tenures of the four members from four to three years under the amendment in Regulation of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Power Act, 1997 enforced on December 4, 2021.
The Authority shall consist of a chairman and four specialized members, to be appointed by the federal government. Chairman or a member will not be appointed if he has attained the age of 60 years. And there will no more be a Vice Chairman of the NEPRA under the notified amended NEPRA Act. The specialized four members of the Authority will include member tariff and finance, member technical, member development and member law.
Right now there is no member law in the Authority for the last 9-10 months. The slot has to have one from Punjab as no one was appointed as a member from that province so far.
According to the notified amendment, the process of appointment will be finalized within 90 days in case of vacancy created due to the death, resignation or removal of the chairman or member. The federal government will appoint a member to work as an acting chairman till the appointment of a new chairman. The members shall nominate a member amongst themselves to work as an acting chairman in case of absence of the chairman, as the case may be, for a meeting of the Authority.
The inside sources say that the federal government wants to replace the current members with professionals with professional educational background and 12 years’ experience in the relevant fields.
The members will be rotated amongst the provinces after three-year tenures. The member tariff and finance will have to be someone with a degree in economics, corporate finance or chartered accountancy and is a professional of known integrity and eminence with a minimum of 12 year of related experience and will be nominated by the provinces or the federal government. The member tariff and finance is currently from Balochistan. And this slot upon expiry of three years will be rotated and would got to Punjab, followed by KPK and Sindh respectively after every three years.
Similarly, the member technical must have an engineering degree in electricity, energy or power and is a professional of known integrity with a minimum of 12 years experience in electrical and power services business. The Member Sindh is currently working as member technical. The member development must have a degree in economics, chartered accountancy or engineering in electricity, energy or power and a minimum of 12 years of related experience in public policy, renewable energy or electric power services business. Currently, the KPK member is acting as member development. The member law must be qualified in corporate and economics law and is a professional of known integrity with a minimum of 12 years of related experience in corporate law and economic law. NEPRA currently has no law member who should be from Punjab.
One of the top men in NEPRA, when contacted, said with the enforcement of the Authority, it will perform more efficiently and professionally. When asked if the federal government has acquired the power to appoint members of NEPRA, he said that electricity is a federal subject and the central government has taken back the powers. He also said that factually the federal government will share powers with the provincial governments while appointing the members.
Other officials said that the earlier NEPRA Act with provincial representation came into existence after 8-9 years brainstorming with inputs from international experts. It has now been drastically changed with more powers for the federal government in appointing members. They said that the mover and shaker of the amendment in NEPRA Act is Senator Shibli Faraz, who is currently Science and Technology Minister.