While ruling out privatisation of public sector power utilities, the government has withdrawn the decision to outsource operations and maintenance of state-owned power generation companies (Gencos) to private contractors.
Earlier, a decision was taken to outsource operations of Gencos to the private sector as the Ministry of Water and Power believed that inefficiency, limited fiscal space and circular debt had made it near impossible for the government to invest in rehabilitating the utilities.
Speaking at a press conference here on Saturday, Federal Water and Power Minister Syed Naveed Qamar announced that the government had taken back the plan to outsource operations of power companies to private contractors after negotiating with representatives of the Hydro Electrical Central Labour Union earlier in the day.
The power companies would not be privatised at any cost and no plan was under consideration in that connection, he stressed and said reports about privatisation of the power sector were baseless.
“The government is taking certain steps to eliminate electricity theft and legislation is under way to deal with elements involved in theft under the Criminal Procedure Code,” Qamar said.
In response to the labour union’s demand that heads of power companies should not come from the private sector, he assured them that he would discuss the issue with the prime minister after his return from the UK trip as this was a policy issue.
Dispelling rumours that the government was involved in unscheduled load-shedding, he put the blame on the Punjab government, saying it had not implemented the decisions of the energy conference, which called for switching to two weekly holidays and closure of shops at 8pm.
“There will be no result of energy conservation, if Punjab does not implement decisions of the conference.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 13th, 2012.