Having failed to fulfil its promise of ending power outages during Sehri and Iftar, the government is likely to make its offer conditional – in order to ensure a supply of power during these timings, the government has decided to increase load-shedding throughout the country.
Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, however, has not given approval for this plan just yet. Sources told The Express Tribune that the plan was tabled before a high-level meeting of the Energy Committee, held at the Prime Minister House on Tuesday. Premier Ashraf then decided that all stakeholders shall be taken into confidence before moving ahead with the plan.
In this regard, the prime minister has summoned a meeting of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association as well as the CEOs of power distribution companies today (Wednesday). If implemented, this load shedding will apply to the industrial, commercial and agricultural sector.
One of the participants of Tuesday’s meeting said that Energy Committee was informed that another hurdle in generating power was severe financial issues. The meeting was informed that Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) is yet to recover billions in dues from defaulters, including the federal and provincial departments. To make matters worse, oil supplier Pakistan State Oil (PSO) is not receiving necessary payments from the power sector.
According to sources, petroleum ministry authorities strongly criticised the power sector for non-payment of dues, saying that PSO was on the verge of defaulting. As a result, there will be no guarantee of an uninterrupted oil supply within the next few days if funds were not provided on an urgent basis. During the meeting, the prime minister directed the finance minister to release funds in order to arrange for oil supplies.
According to a press release, the premier took strong exception to the long hours of load shedding across the country over the last two days despite the fact that power generation had gone up to around 14,000 megawatts.
The statement added that Prime Minister Ashraf left Tuesday’s meeting along with the water and power minister, the finance minister, the petroleum minister and the information minister, and paid a surprise visit to the National Power Control Centre (NPCC), Islamabad, to inspect power generation and its distribution.
(Read: The prime minister and electricity)
Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2012.
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