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ISLAMABAD: New Minister for Water and Power Ahmad Mukhtar, who replaced Naveed Qamar, is said to have failed in giving any considerable relief to loadshedding-hit power consumers as the shortfall has unofficially crossed 8,000 MW.

However, Ministry of Water and Power has officially acknowledged that shortfall is 6802 MW against demand of 17,873 MW on Saturday, which analysts believe is completely contrary to ground realties.

Loadshedding duration in rural areas is up to 22 hours and in cities 14 hours.     

Finance Ministry is of the view that what is happening in the power sector is basically incompetence and mis-governance on part of Water and Power Ministry as according to sources the incumbent Secretary Water and Power who has been attached with Naveed Qamar since long, has failed to help evolve comprehensive strategy aimed at overcoming power crisis. 

In an official statement, Water and Power Ministry said that the main reason behind less hydel generation is less inflow in Tarbela and Mangla reservoirs as compared to last year's inflows. Presently, hydel generation is 4,512 MW. Additionally, Kapco power plant- 876 MW is under outage due to shortage of fuel. One unit of Hubco of 300 MW, AES Lalpire 350 MW, Saif Power 210 MW, Saphire 209 MW, Orient 213 MW and Halmore 207 MW are also under forced outage due to non-availability of fuel Oil stock position at all RFO operable plants is also critically low.     

Meanwhile, presiding over a meeting of Discos, the Water and Power Minister has directed the power distribution companies to strictly follow the load management quota to avoid unscheduled load shedding, maximize their recovery and improve efficiency.

The Minister said that unscheduled loadshedding is creating a number of difficulties to the consumers and it is government's priority to end it immediately. He asked the NPCC to issue load management quota as per daily power generation to all the Discos well before time so that they may be able to plan the scheduled load management for both urban and rural areas under their respective jurisdiction.

He said that action will be taken in case of not implementation. The Minister also directed the NPCC and Energy Management Cell to work out a comprehensive and feasible plan to provide maximum relief to consumers, particularly those in industrial sector.

He said the government is utilizing all the resources to enhance power generation to reduce the load shedding.

Mukhtar also directed them to improve their recovery from the defaulters. He said that improvement in the recovery will help generate more power. The country is in dire need of maximum generation in summer and role of the Discos collection is very important in this regard.

He directed the Discos to disconnect the electricity supply of private and government consumers without any discrimination in case of non-payment of bills.

He also asked all the companies to reduce their line losses. The CEOs have been also asked to address consumers' complaints and timely deliver the bills to the consumers and give them at least 10 days for payment.

Earlier, the CEOs of the Discos briefed the minister on their recovery position and their individual recovery targets. They assured him that they will work hard to collect the amount from the consumers and defaulters beyond the targets in the month of June. CEO Hesco informed the meeting that he had collected 200 million rupees above the target. The meeting appreciated his performance.

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