ISLAMABAD: Energy Minister Omar Ayub on Friday said the government was working on a plan to install four solar and hybrid plants, with an accumulative generation capacity of 500MW, in different areas of Balochistan.
“A 200MW solar power plant will be set up at the Habibullah coastal power station and three plants of 100MW each in other districts of the province,” he informed the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Energy that met under the chairmanship of Imran Khattak.
The minister said the federal government was spending around Rs100 billion to revamp the power distribution network and prevent line losses.
MNA Noor Alam Khan raised the issue of newly installed electricity meters running at an unusually fast speed. The minister replied that the new meters were installed after a complete examination.
“However, citizens can have faulty meters checked by the departments concerned through a set procedure,” he added.
Ayub said the government was also considering introducing a pre-paid and post-paid electricity billing system.
“The implementation of this mechanism will take three to four years, once it is approved.”
Replying to another question about setting up feeders on agricultural land, Ayub said almost 45 to 55 kanals were required to install the facility near the load centre to avoid a drop in voltage.
“The government is trying to incorporate integrated grid stations as was done in Beijing to save space and achieve more efficiency.”
Speaking on oil and gas exploration activities, the minister said efforts were being made to accelerate drilling activities in potential areas, adding that the process to award 35 to 40 new exploration blocks was being initiated in December this year.
“The minister said the country was facing a shortage of around three billion cubic feet per day (BCFD) gas, for which a multi-pronged strategy had been devised.
Ayub said the government had the prerogative to decide about execution of any development scheme in any part of the country.
Senior officials of the Oil and Gas Development Company Limited briefed the committee on working of the company, drilling activities and corporate social responsibility initiatives in oil and gas producing districts.
Among others, the meeting was attended by MNAs Junaid Akbar, Noor Alam Khan, Shahid Ahmad, Akhtar Mengal, Murtaza Javed Abbasi, Chaudhry Muhammad Barjees Tahir, Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada and Roshanuddin Junejo and senior officials of the petroleum and power divisions and the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Company Limited.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 19th, 2019.