President calls meeting of energy stakeholders

Published: April 25, 2011
Meeting taking place at the time when power shortfall has crossed 6,000 megawatts.

Meeting taking place at the time when power shortfall has crossed 6,000 megawatts.


As power shortfall in the country crossed 6,000 megawatts with the energy-intensive summer still around the corner, President Asif Zardari has summoned all energy sector stakeholders for an emergency brainstorming session on Monday to decide how to manage the situation.

Officials at the president’s office and in the power distribution companies confirmed on Sunday that the meeting would take place though they were unsure about the possible decisions likely to be taken.

“At the moment, the whole power sector looks to be in an utter chaos… nobody seems sure how to improve it. The only certain thing is that this summer is going to be the worst,” said one official familiar with the matter.

The meeting is taking place at the time when the gap between the electricity generation and demand has surged to 6,000 MWs, a level which had never been reached during the past three years that the crisis has been most acute.

The long painful hours of power cuts are frustrating household consumers and damaging an already suffering economy. The government fears the situation may trigger political unrest if no corrective measures are taken now.

“This is the backdrop for the meeting. It is do or die, now or never for the government… if it lets things happen the way they are (happening), it is going to cost it very highly,” said another official who is close to President Zardari.

Senior officials from the Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco), independent power producers, the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda), Pakistan State Oil (PSO) and power distribution companies are likely to attend the meeting.

Also present would be Water and Power Minister Syed Naveed Qamar and senior officials from the petroleum ministry.

The shortfall is largely attributed to the government’s inability to pay what is known as circular debt in the power sector that has reportedly jumped to Rs400 billion, though there is no certain mechanism for its accounting.

“That is the biggest evil. It is a very simple mathematics. We have close to 19,000 MWs installed generation capacity and producing less than 10,000. It is because IPPs don’t get money to buy fuel. We will have to resolve the circular debt,” the official added.

It was because of the spiralling circular debt that the state-run PSO stopped supplying fuel to generation companies recently.

There were, however, little hopes that any significant decision could be taken at the meeting because the government was already facing a financial crunch and the international fuel prices were climbing up like never in the past due to political unrest in oil-producing nations in the Gulf, according to officials.

“We must not expect much from the meeting… the limitations are so severe. Only thing we all should get ready for is a tough summer,” another official remarked.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (24)

  • amarjamali
    Apr 25, 2011 - 8:07AM

    this govt has no capability to resolve problems of common people.Recommend

  • XX
    Apr 25, 2011 - 9:50AM

    To make it a little clearer:
    You pay the power distribution companies for the power (like KESC, FESCO, etc.). They don’t pay the independent power producing companies for the power they receive.
    Because they have been taken over by Zardari & Co., due to their inherently monopolistic and strategic nature (you can’t bypass them to receive power).
    More details:

  • Rajah
    Apr 25, 2011 - 9:54AM

    Pakistan khappay khappay :-)Recommend

  • Naseer Hussain
    Apr 25, 2011 - 10:27AM

    It would be a miracle if the present setup survives the coming budget.Govt because of its sheer incompetence,is unable to give any relief to the common man.The relief announced in the last budget has already evaporated, partly due to additional taxes and partly due to inflation.To compound the matter,energy managers have not handled the case wisely and scientifically.To put it plainly, all of them passed the buck to the next man in heirarchy.President or any body in the Govt cannot solve the issue unless the feeder supplying their homes and offices are disconnected.These managers sitting in their offices are not aware of the miseries we endure.Calling a meeting of these “Stakeholders” is just an eye wash.Actions should be taken and the people responsible taken to the task.You cannot cheat the people all the time.Recommend

  • Istanan Jatt
    Apr 25, 2011 - 10:54AM

    Shortfall Will Be Increased To 7000 Megawatt…Recommend

  • SK
    Apr 25, 2011 - 10:57AM

    yeah now that Zardari is taking control, we all will have ample electricity available. A govt of cartoons & thugs………………Recommend

  • Asim+Ali
    Apr 25, 2011 - 11:04AM

    Just what the power sector requires! A meeting to be convened by the President and this will solve the issues.
    3+ years and the government has been unable to create jobs, unable to develop an atmosphere for foreign investment, unable to restore investor confidence, unable to solve the power issues……
    A strong country requires 4 pillars of strength, a strong economy, strong intellect, strong morals and a strong military. What we have is a strong military. Imagine if the civilian government could gets its hands around this!Recommend

  • Aamir
    Apr 25, 2011 - 11:08AM

    Government did nothing to improve energy crisis in thier tenure. Their corrupt ministers only raised their bank balances by looting Pakistan. With the President of highly corrupt background, you cannot expect good companions around him. Pakistan is demolished and destroyed by PPP and PML-N and their partners.Recommend

  • Apr 25, 2011 - 11:36AM

    These meetings are just waste of time and money. Why don’t we give a practical shape to the statement of Dr.Samar mubarakmand in which he had said, “I could produce 10 thousands MWs from Thar coal in only 6 months” by spending only 800 millions Pak Rupees.”
    Is it a joke?Recommend

  • Apr 25, 2011 - 11:49AM

    First it was said that mushrraf government did not do anything for energy sector.What has this govt done so far inspite of inheriting the problem.Why is it that inspired repeated assurances nothing has been done for the energy sector.Who is responsible?Recommend

  • The Patriot
    Apr 25, 2011 - 11:51AM

    you better fix it before we finally come on the roads , i am an educated Pakistani , i spent two nights with my child expecting wife suffering without light in heat of tha night , i felt like draging your Bhuttos out of grave and burn them dead..Recommend

  • Apr 25, 2011 - 11:52AM

    Stakeholders…. so who is representing the public (AWAAM) ?Recommend

  • Ahmer Ali
    Apr 25, 2011 - 12:01PM

    Assalam-o-Allaikum Warahmatullah.Being a muslim we all have to keep it in our minds firmly that all the current the most dangerous and critical shortage of power and gas is only as a consequence of our bad deeds wrought by our own hands and in these conditions our leaders are seeking help and assistance from non-muslim powers instead of Allah Almighty and Allah Almighty has clearly defined it in His doubtless Holy Quran that if you will disobey my commandments openly and shall make licit for yourself what I have made illicit for you then I shall shorten your economy and this has been proven that we the muslims especially the muslim leaders are just supposed to have trusted Allah Almighty and didn’t give importance to Allah Almighty what Allah Almighty deserves in real sense and secondly when China offered cheap and uninterrupted electricity supply then very strangely Supreme Court rejects the application and various true friends of Pakistan offered cheap and uninterrupted electricity the USA interrupted and enforced Pakistani leaders to withdraw from all the expected agreements in this regard and assured Pakistani leaders to fulfill Pakistan’s power requirements and later on left Pakistan alone after withdrawing from the agreements.The most importantly Pakistan has lot of resources to generate electricity even cheap and easily affordable but our fake friends of democratic Pakistan created hindrances for Pakistan.Now face the music and if possible repent before Allah Almighty so that Allah Almighty could re-open Pakistan’s shortened economy.Recommend

  • M Imran Khan
    Apr 25, 2011 - 12:46PM

    The problem is not the generation capacity… quoted in the news, we have the capacity to produce 19000 MWs approx….
    the problem is money to pay circular debt that the govt. does not have. We hope that the money to be given by US comes early so that some of the debt can be cleared.
    Mistake is not one sided (by the govt. only), people are also to be blamed as they donot let the govt. raise fuel / electricity prices… way or the other, we will have to increase the rates as oil prices have risen quite a bit due to “Fazool Inquilaabs” in the Middle Eastern countries which produce oil. Recommend

  • Asmat Jamal
    Apr 25, 2011 - 12:53PM

    There are umpteen number of solutions to this problem however where is the political will going to come from!
    Pakhtunkhwa government has identified a number of sites on River Swat and chitral where cheap run of the river projects can be done and country can be rid of this calamity. Please consider those projects. It will not raise any issue of water amongst the provinces and we will find cheap energy also. Recommend

  • Apr 25, 2011 - 1:32PM

    Zardari & Co can do nothing… this summer will cost them a lot as they will never be re-elected by naive Pakistanis in next 50 year history… I bet it….

    6000 MW shortfall typifies the incompetency and mis-governance of PPP – coterie of thugs and cartoons (as someone alos said in above comment…)Recommend

  • shabbir
    Apr 25, 2011 - 1:32PM

    awam tapay tapay :-)Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    Apr 25, 2011 - 3:11PM

    @Zeeshan Mahmood:
    unfortunately the people of pakistan suffer from amensia !!
    This current crises are make up of circular debts and expensive subsidies that the Govt simply can not afford to service, but sadly their obsession to cling to power stops them from taking bold steps to correct the situation!
    This is not the only area that they face crises, There are too many economic monitors pointing to more disasters ahead!!Recommend

  • Apr 25, 2011 - 3:35PM

    i tell you one important thing untill americans are here they will not allow stability in any field coz they are afraid if Muslims are relaxed they will be behind them so its american policy to disturb pakistanis as much you can and get dollars from us Musharaf was toeing this policy and now zardari & Co also doing same.

    so be relax untill americans are in our neighbours they cant allow us relax in any field drones, suicidals, electricity, petroleums INFLATION etc…… will continue.Recommend

  • Moise
    Apr 25, 2011 - 3:41PM

    Leaders who work for improving people’s condition or industrialized an economy gets shot, bombed, or labelled as a religious extremists and hung out to dry.

    This is how our planet works currently, our only hope lies with the informed public and not sheep making education and foreign media.Recommend

  • ba ha
    Apr 25, 2011 - 3:44PM

    @amarjamali: What Government???Recommend

  • ba ha
    Apr 25, 2011 - 3:50PM

    They are laughing all the way to the bank and we have to sit next to the “desert cooler” waiting for power. I get the feeling Pakistan will just be a happy memory one day. And that too in the mind of a senile old man..Recommend

  • Apr 25, 2011 - 6:13PM

    you are right man…. Pakistani people will select any party with cacophonous slogans to provide ROTI (food)… But three year performance of PPP is worse than previous 10 year dictatorship. Not a single watt they could generate and supply and shortfall has reached equality lines…. How pathetic… In 21st century Pakistanis are deprived of electricity…. :(Recommend

  • Khurram
    Apr 25, 2011 - 8:59PM

    Just meetings even after 4 years and still going on ??????????????Recommend

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