With prolonged power outages roiling the nation, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday issued stern warnings to the officials of the energy ministry to rein in the crisis without delay, telling them that failure to do so would earn them dismissal from their service.
In an emergency meeting to discuss the burgeoning crisis, the prime minister reprimanded the officials while rejecting their explanations for the biting load-shedding and directed the energy minister and finance ministry to plug the energy shortfall and furnish a viable plan for the same within 24 hours.
The huddle reviewed the power load-shedding situation in the country and discussed measures to reduce the electricity shortfall that has exceeded 7,000 megawatts. Concerned ministers and top officials of the power division attended the meeting.
According to the sources, the prime minister during the meeting when asked about the numbers of hours people were forced to undergo outage, he was misinformed by government officers to downplay the gravity of the situation.
Upon this the prime minister express his displeasure and instructed the officers concerned to get their acts in order as the situation on the ground was starkly different to what they were presenting him with.
According to the insiders, PM lashed out at the officials concerned while directing them to reduce load-shedding duration to two hours maximum under any circumstances. "Loadshedding for more than two hours is not acceptable. Do whatever,” he issued directives.
“Out of the question. Not acceptable,” the irate premier asserted. “I don’t want any explanation. People want to get rid of load-shedding and I will not compromise on public issues,” the premier was quoted as saying in response to the explanations given by the officials.
In a statement Federal Minister Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb said the prime minister Shehbaz Sharif has called for an emergency plan to reduce electricity load-shedding within the next 24 hours.
PM Shehbaz tasked a committee comprising of Minister for Energy, Petroleum, and Finance to present an actionable plan Pronto.
Due to the widening gap in supply and demand, unannounced load-shedding of eight hours is being carried out in different parts of the country. Moreover, in areas with line losses found to be high, the duration of load-shedding has reached 12 hours.
Ever since the incumbent government came to power, it has struggled to resolve the nagging problem of power outages. While Prime Minister Shehbaz had vowed to end the problem as soon as possible, the issue continues to linger on, with no relief in sight.
Furthermore, the country has been facing an extreme heatwave since last month and temperature up to 50 degrees Celsius has been recorded in some parts of Pakistan. The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has attributed this worsening problem to climate change. It is worth mentioning here that Pakistan is among the countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
Meanwhile, the electricity shortfall has increased to 7,200 megawatts in the country amid a leap in demand in the sweltering summer. The country’s overall power generation was recorded at 20,000 megawatts while consumption was over 27,200, the sources added.
Sources said Lahore and other major cities were experiencing more than 10 hours of load-shedding. In smaller cities and villages, load-shedding continued to plunge consumers for up to 15 hours.
Sources shared that around 4,622 megawatts were being generated from water while government thermal plants were generating 1,134 megawatts of electricity.
The total generation of private sector power plants stood at 9,377 megawatts and around and wind power plants were generating 1,415 megawatts.
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