SAARC Energy Regulators urged to forge cooperation on meeting energy needs

ISLAMABAD, Sep 21 (APP): Chairperson of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation(SAARC) Energy Regulators Meeting Tariq Saddozai on Wednesday stressed the need for cooperation to resolve energy issues in member countries.

Addressing the two-day meeting being held here, the chairperson urged the SAARC energy regulators to make collective efforts for the development of efficient conventional and renewable energy resources, strengthening of related transmission systems and cross-border electricity trade for their sustainable development.

He said Pakistan was already importing 100MW from Iran and CASA project would enable Afghanistan and Pakistan to import 1300MW electricity from Central Asian countries.

He said Pakistan had also submitted a draft Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) to India on importing 1200MW of electricity.

He added that NEPRA Act envisages open access to transmission and distribution systems and NEPRA Interim Power Procurement Regulations had been framed to allow
foreign generation companies to sell electricity to power purchasers.

He said the power sector in Pakistan was in transition towards a competitive regime which was targeted to be achieved by 2020, adding the Pakistan had established one window facilitators such as PPIB and AEDB to encourage private sector investment in electricity generation.

He said power sector had witnessed success stories that lies ahead is beset with challenges, adding “we believe that SAARC countries are facing similar issues and there is need for alternative energy to offset dependence on imported and expensive fuels.”

He said SAARC Framework Agreement emphasized mutual cooperation on development of efficient conversational and renewable energy resources, energy efficiency and energy
conservation, sharing of knowledge and promoting competition.

He said joint research, reeducation of losses and grid integration for renewable energy were low hanging fruits, adding, member countries could all benefits from each other on these subject.”

“We have benefitted from the experience of SAARC member states for determining tariff of HVDC line and received excellent feedback from member states thorough SARRC
Energy Centre,” he added.

The Meeting of SAARC Energy Regulators recognizes that interactions and dialogues have to be established among the stack holders of the sector including the regulators in the member states in order to effectively materialize the issue of regional Energy Cooperation The first meeting of SAARC Energy Regulators was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2014
and the Second in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 2016.

Earlier the Secretary Cabinet in his inaugural speech said that SAARC member states were struggling with a massive gap in demand and supply, adding there was a need to address energy security from a regional perspective.

To achieve regional cooperation, he said there was a need to take various factors into account including the high investment cost, private participation, environment, affordability and right of way. Harmonious energy policies, enabling legal environment and regulatory framework are key tools for regional trade and investment.

He hoped that member states would take advantage of the momentum created by this meeting and contribute to overcome the issues of power sector in the region.

The Director, SAARC Secretariat, Ali Haider Altaf opened the Meeting of the SAARC Energy Regulators and in accordance with the SAARC, practice, the leader of the delegation of the host country.

Chairman NEPRA, was elected as Chairperson of the SAARC Energy Regulators Meeting.

Delegations of participating states presented their country papers on the existing Regulatory Mechanisms, Rules, Methodologies and Processes of respective Members States.

Delegates who attend the meeting are Mujtaba Yaseen , First secretary, High Commission, Afghanistan, Najmul Huda Dy. High Commissioner, High Commission, Bangladesh, Thukten Wangmo, Chief (Monitoring Division) from Bhutan
Electricity Authority, Raghuram, First Secretary, High Commission, India, Ahmed Mujabta,First Secretary /Dy. Head of Mission, High Commission, Maldives, Mr Ambu Bhawani karki, Member, Electricity Tariff Fixation Commission, Nepal, Mr. C.N. Saliya W. Mathew,Chairman , Public Utilities Commission, Sri Lanka and Mr. Garmini Hearath, Deputy Director General, public Utilities Commission, Sri Lanka.