ISLAMABAD: The Council of Common Interests (CCI) on Wednesday approved the national energy policy after arriving at a consensus with the provincial governments.
In a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, it was detailed that the energy requirements of the country will be met for the next three to four years under the new policy.
The policy focuses on maximising the use of alternative energy sources such as coal, hydel, solar and wind to overcome the electricity shortfall. Seven thousand megawatt electricity is to be produced through coal.
"I whole heartedly congratulate the provinces for coming to a consensus on a matter of national interest," said the Prime Minister, adding that the responsibility of implementation also rests with the provinces.
PM Nawaz added that it was the government's job to facilitate consensus on key decisions.
"We respect the mandate of all the provincial governments and would support them in all their endeavours to protect the welfare of the people," said the Prime Minister.
He said that Sindh was the hub of energy sources and that coal and wind energy will be used from the province to meet energy requirements.
Provisions of the new policy
The report presented by the technical committee detailed Sindh government's demand for developing Coal and Wind Corridors with the facilitation of federal government.
The committee also proposed Integrated Utility Courts for dealing with electricity and gas thefts and rationalising the penalties for such crimes.
The report of the technical committee was approved by the CCI and became a part of the national energy policy approved on Wednesday.
Amongst other things, the meeting discussed the challenges of distribution facing Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
Speaking at the meeting, Chief Minister Pervez Khattak said that opportunities are available for investment and that his government was already working on two energy projects in District Kohistan.
Chief Minister Sindh Qaim Ali Shah said that wind energy sources needed to be explored while Chief Minister Balochistan Abdul Malik Baloch stressed for a steady provision of electricity to his province from the Uch-2 Project.
Under the new energy policy, the power tariff will be increased by 30 to 70 per cent for industrial, commercial and domestic consumers to phase out subsidy.
Gas prices were also increased for all users except for impoverished communities.
An official of the power ministry confirmed that consumers would face a hike in power tariff of Rs 3 to Rs 6 per unit for different categories.
The official said that government was mulling over a plan to guarantee uninterrupted power supply to industrial consumers.
Water and Power Minister Khwaja Asif said that the new tariff would be effective from August1 for industrial and commercial consumers while domestic consumers using over 200 units of electricity per month would face the hike from October1.