Faced with an energy crisis requiring long-term structural change, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has opted for the quick-fix solution of closing businesses and shops. The PM has asked the ministry of water and power to persuade the provinces that two-day weekly holidays and shop closures at 8pm will overcome the load-shedding crisis which has led to countrywide protest.
On the PM’s orders, the finance ministry also released Rs9 billion to Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) on Monday, which in turn will be paid to Pakistan State Oil (PSO), whose receivables have crossed an alarming Rs155 billion. PSO reportedly received Rs3.8 billion from Hubco and Kapco on Thursday and Friday.
(Read: Outstanding dues - PSO halts supply to power companies)
For now, the money paid to PSO will result in the resumption of fuel to thermal power plants, which, in turn, will help address the crippling electricity shortage in the country.
During a high-level meeting on the energy crisis chaired by the PM, the complete privatisation of power generation companies (Gencos) was discussed as a measure to tackle the circular debt that has plagued the country’s energy chain.
(Read: Private sector regime - Businessmen welcome transfer of Gencos)
The government is already working on a plan to hire private sector companies for the operation and maintenance of Gencos. The privatisation of Gencos would theoretically enable the government to provide electricity on a cash rather than credit basis, thus reducing the severe circular debt which currently amounts to Rs450 billion. Sources said that, under this plan, Gencos would directly provide power to their consumers.
The special emergency meeting was attended by Minster for Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Minister for Water and Power Syed Naveed Qamar, Minster for Petroleum Dr Asim Hussain among others.
On the other hand, power tariffs are set to increase by over Rs3 per unit due to fuel adjustments for August, after a decision taken by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra), who are scheduled to hold a public hearing on Tuesday (today).
Pepco is owed over Rs300 billion from clients and Rs 155 billion from government departments, including Rs74 billion from the provinces. The meeting emphasised that money should be deducted directly from provinces’ accounts where there is a reluctance to pay bills.
Sources told The Express Tribune that it was also agreed that an energy conference would soon be held to develop a consensus on the two-day weekly holiday proposal. The Prime Minister also directed the committee members to submit their recommendations in a special cabinet meeting, to be convened shortly, aimed at resolving the load-shedding crisis.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 4th, 2011.
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Western countries have the traffic rush hour at 6 am....we have it at 11 am. We are a lazy nation.
2 day weekly holidays how much is that costing Pakistan ppl. No business, government is also losing money. Is this anyway to run a country to save money they are wasting millions and causing ppl to lose livelihood.
Don't understand why all these so called leaders at the helm of affiars are understanding that what it is to be without light, ask them how many hours do they bear of load shedding; zero. I think all our voices are falling into deaf ears.
it was also agreed that an energy conference would soon be held to develop a consensus on the two-day weekly holiday proposal.
Sense less move as two days leaves will increase the burden on electricity distribution on house hold consumers. Kick of new hydro power project to increase the source as the population is increasing and industry will eventually need up to 25000MGW in two years time for next 3 years. Delaying tactics will result in catastrophic situation for the economy and population of this land. The only things lacking is "Political Will" to resolve the issues for the best interest of this nation. Convening a meeting is destroying time and enjoying official meeting meals that it.
Why would Pakistan need power for the civilians? They need to continue making a few hundred more nuclear warheads and have to spend more money on the armed forces which are in a poor state. We are a nuclear power and can live without food by eating grass. It is a matter of priorities where we allocate the money in the budget.
DARK DAYS AHEAD
They are still turning off the lights after every two hours for a duration of two and a half hours.
Most markets experience load shedding between 8 & 10 pm in any case. Stores generally close by 11. So what energy conservation are we talking about? 1 commercial hour? Another silly ploy by the jokers in Islamabad!
go for more hydro power through dams and supplement that with thar coal power....within a few years you will be able to not only meet the demands but export electricity as well...........
Let there be Light!
This is band aid solution.
The real problem is subsidies and power theft. Circular debt in reality is bad debt which is circulating amongst various entities.
I think closing businesses and shops at 8 pm is a brilliant idea we lazy nation wake up late starts work & late end late, we should change our life style and follow all developed countries where all businesses closes at 6-7pm excepts eating places & resturants which also closed before midnight.
Taping the problem is not going to take us anywhere. There has to be a permanent solution at least to resolve the circular debt related energy crisis.