Supreme Court summons Attorney General Pakistan as IPPs want outstanding dues cleared
* Power producers warn of four-hour additional load shedding if money not paid
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has summoned attorney general of Pakistan (AGP) today (Wednesday) over a petition filed by independent power producers (IPPs), seeking a direction for the government to clear the circular debt in the energy sector.
The IPPs also informed the court that if the government would not issue their dues then the country would face four hours additional load shedding.
A four-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani heard the petition moved by eight IPPs that the government had not paid them Rs 61.4 billion during the last couple of months, which worsened power crisis in the country.
This amount includes the capacity payment of Rs 19.379 billion, energy payment of Rs 37.846 billion, and other payments of Rs 4.176 billion. Those included in the petition are Liberty Tech, Orient Power, Atlas Power, Nishat Power, Nishat Chunian, Saif Power, Halmore Power and Sapphire Electric, seeking payment of outstanding dues of Rs 11.131 billion, Rs 4.121 billion, Rs 10.478 billion, Rs 9.661 billion, Rs 10.899 billion, Rs 5.722 billion, Rs 2.415 billion and Rs6.974 billion, respectively.
During the hearing, Fakhruddin G Ibrahim, counsel for the IPPs, said that the government was not paying the dues of Rs 61.4 billion to the IPPs, questioning that if load shedding would increase further then what the common man would do.
The counsel said that the government was reluctant in arbitration regarding the matter because it was aware that its case was weak. Later on, the court summoned AGP and adjourned the hearing today (Wednesday).
It is to be noted that these eight companies, which had earlier invoked the sovereign guarantees, filed the petition to initiate legal action domestically, instead of approaching the international arbitrators.
The federal government, through the ministries of water and power and finance, National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC), Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB), National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO), Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA), the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and Independent Power Producers Advisory Council, is respondent in the case.
The petition questioned whether the failure of the government to honour its sovereign financial guarantees to IPPs was not an act of mis-governance fraught with grave consequences for the well-being and prosperity of Pakistan.
The petitions said the looming energy crisis was bound to have a devastating impact on the economy already reeling from a series of blows due to reckless governmental actions, some planned and some consequential.