Power companies asked to reduce line losses

Shahbaz Rana April 14, 2010

ISLAMABAD: The Crisis Management Committee of the cabinet has asked the heads of power distribution companies to reduce line losses by 2 per cent by June or face the axe.

The 2 per cent losses are equal to 200 megawatts of electricity. Addressing a press conference at the Q Block here on Tuesday, Water and Power Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said “one per cent line losses mean a loss of 100MW, which is equivalent to Rs5 billion.”

He said that the Committee would work for providing relief to people before the arrival of the peak summer season.

“For that we have to take tough decisions.” He said line losses of power distribution companies were high at 30 per cent.

“This means wastage of 2,500MW to 3,000MW of electricity amounting to Rs125 to 130 billion.” Ashraf said that line losses of Hyderabad, Multan, Peshawar and Quetta power distribution companies were very high, which must be capped to improve electricity supply.

He avoided answering the question of whether the government has committed to international financial institutions to the increase tariff by 6 per cent with effect from April 1.

Ashraf said that the cabinet’s Special Committee, which the prime minister constituted to address energy sector problems, has decided to improve the energy mix and asked the Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) to immediately recover Rs10 billion out of Rs95 billion dues.

He said that the Sindh government owes Rs21 billion to PEPCO, Karachi Electricity Supply Company has to pay Rs39 billion, NWFP government Rs15 billion, Punjab Rs4 billion, federal government Rs3.5 billion and AJK government Rs3.5 billion.

Ashraf said that the committee decided that for reducing the cost of generation by onethird, the fuel mix would be improved. “An additional 350 mmcfd (million cubic feet per day) of gas will help reduce the generation cost by one-third and improve efficiency by one-fourth.”

He said that the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources would inform the power ministry about the additional gas supply. Ashraf said that the committee would meet again on Wednesday and after that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani would consider its recommendations.

To a question, he said that Pakistan was ready to import 1,000MW of electricity from Iran but infrastructure was not available. He said that the World Bank has agreed to provide aid for replacement of old tube-wells, which were consuming up to 3,000MW of electricity.

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