‘Balochistan farmers owe Rs150b in electricity bills’

Published: October 5, 2017


ISLAMABAD: State Minister for Energy (Power Division) Abid Sher Ali told a parliamentary panel on Wednesday that Balochistan farmers were required to pay Rs150 billion on account of electricity supply to their tube wells.

Briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Energy, Ali claimed that 11,514 megawatts of electricity would be added to the system by June 2018.

The shortfall, which was 8,000MW in 2013, had been slashed to 2,880MW by June 2017 and consequently load-shedding was brought down from around 12 hours to 3-4 hours a day. Owing to investment in the power generation and distribution system, line losses and other costs dropped from 18.5% to 17.9%.

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In keeping with its policy, the government was, however, carrying out load-shedding for significantly longer durations in areas where transmission and distribution losses were higher than other areas.

The committee was informed that overall load-shedding had gone down 52% over the past four years while bill recoveries went up to 94%.

Committee Chairman Senator Mir Israr Ahmed Khan Zehri voiced concern over dearth of gas and electricity in large swathes of Balochistan.

However, the committee was told that power production had improved significantly and many new projects were in the pipeline to provide gas and electricity connections in remote areas of the country.

It was informed that electricity production in the country stood at 11,800 megawatts in 2013, which had now risen to 18,658MW.

Of around 298 faulty transformers, 270 had been repaired completely, which would help in a smooth supply of electricity, especially during peak summer days.

Apart from this, upgrading work on power transmission lines was expected to be completed by June 2018. So far, repair and upgrading work on 102 out of 137 transmission lines has been completed.

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Peshawar Electric Supply Company and Sukkur Electric Power Company had made recoveries of Rs40 billion, said Ali. The senators expressed dismay over the lack of gas connections in large parts of Balochistan including Khuzdar – the second largest city of the province. Committee members also called for supplying gas to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).

Responding to the demand, State Minister for Energy (Petroleum Division) Jam Kamal Khan pointed out that there were plans in place for setting up liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) air-mix plants in many areas for gas supply through pipelines.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 5th, 2017.

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