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ISLAMABAD: The Power Division Wednesday confirmed to the Senate Standing Committee on Power that 5,800 MW of electricity is not available to the system due to shortage of fuel.

Testifying before the Standing Committee headed by Senator Saifullah Abro, Power Division officials revealed that average generation is 18500 MW in the country. The duration of load shedding is wider in areas where losses are on higher side and recovery is low.

The Committee was further informed that efforts are being made to avoid load shedding at the time of Iftar, Taraweeh and Sehri even in high loss areas. Presently, electricity is being supplied from 10,000 feeders.

The Power Division officials maintained that revenue based load shedding is being carried out across the country even if surplus power is available.

Chairman of the Committee stated that they were told that the country is producing more electricity than required, so the question is what are the reasons for the ongoing load shedding? Power Division officials replied that Pakistan’s installed capacity is about 38,000 MW but many power generation plants have been shut down due to lack of supply of fuel and RLNG.

The country’s current power generation is about 18,500 MW whereas demand for electricity increased 38% in April this year as compared to the previous year. The Chairman of the committee said that while procuring RLNG care should have been taken to deal with suppliers who do not default and provide the justification of a price hike in the international market. He said that the amount of performance guarantee should be such that the supplier could not default.

Senator Syed Muhammad Sabir Shah raised the query that was brought up during a Senate session on heavy transmission lines passing through Ghazi Tehsil of Haripur District. Additional Secretary, Ministry of Energy (Power Division) informed the committee that according to the existing policy, the owners of the land through which the transmission lines pass are paid a reasonable lump sum. He added that any construction near the transmission lines is prohibited.

Senator Syed Sabir Shah said that due to heavy transmission lines, land becomes permanently useless with neither construction nor agricultural activity possible. The agency should buy the land or pay a hefty royalty to the landowners.

Senator Saifullah Sarwar Khan Nyazee stated that the royalty should be paid in proportion to the revenue generated from electricity so that the landowners could have a source of permanent income. Additional Secretary Power Division said that the existing law would then need to be amended to introduce a new policy in this regard. The chairman of the committee directed the concerned authorities to review the policy in this regard and submit suggestions in the next committee meeting.

Additional Secretary Power Division gave a detailed briefing to the committee on the project for rehabilitation of licenced public sector power generation plants under Genco Holding.

Explaining the construction and repair of 747 MW (GT-14) plant, action against the concerned officers/personnel and BOD of GHCL and GENCO, the Additional Secretary Power Division said that in the light of the inquiry report, the Ministry has directed to suspend those whose names are mentioned in the inquiry report.

The Chairman of the Committee asked Genco Holding officials about the implementation of the Ministry’s directives, to which the Committee was informed that Genco Holding’s CEO is still in office and BoDs have given him ten days to leave.

Expressing his serious concerns over the matter, the Chairman of the Committee said that no action has been taken against anyone so far despite the identification of those responsible in the inquiry report. Senator Syed Shibli Faraz said that the members of BoDs should be called in the Committee meeting and asked why the instructions issued by the Ministry have not been implemented yet.

The CEO of Genco II informed the Committee that the rehabilitation work of 747 MW (GT-14) plant is underway and work will be completed by June 15. He further added that discussions are underway with the General Electric (GE) regarding recovery for plant closure and repair costs and a legal team has been formed for this purpose.

Abro said that he will not allow the money of the people to be wasted in any way. He also summoned CEO Genco Holding in the next meeting. The Chairman Committee issued clear instructions to complete the process by May 15 for the promotion of engineers in all DISCOs and Gencos.

The Committee meeting also considered the issue raised by Senator Mushtaq Ahmed Khan on the point of public importance regarding fuel price adjustment charges in electricity bills. Senator Mushtaq Ahmed said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa generates more hydropower than it needs and is not even provided the electricity it needs. He said the Peshawar High Court had ruled that the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa could not be charged for fuel price adjustment but the department is still collecting against court rules.

Senator Mushtaq Ahmed said that just as Gilgit-Baltistan is given subsidy on electricity bills, so should Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Additional Secretary Power Division informed the committee that Gilgit-Baltistan was not connected to the national grid adding that after being connected to the national grid, all the provinces are billed at the same rate.

Additional Secretary Power suggested that this matter be discussed with Nepra, which is the regulator of power sector.

The committee meeting was attended by Senators, Syed Shibli Faraz, Saifullah Sarwar Khan Nyazee, Fida Muhammad, Syed Sabir Shah, Zeeshan Khanzada, Bahramand Khan Tangi, Sana Jamali, officials of the concerned ministry and Discos officials.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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