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ISLAMABAD: All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has accused power Distribution Companies (DISCOs) of not giving new connections or enhancing connections of existing units due to which production has reduced by up to 25 per cent.

The Association has made this claim in a letter to the newly-appointed Secretary Power, Rashid Mehmood Langrial. The Associations says that it works closely with the Ministry of Energy to ensure that its member mills have access to consistent and reliable energy. In this regard, APTMA has provided weekly updates to the Power Division regarding the issues in continuity of power supply to the industry and also those relating to non-conformity of laid-down standards.

The previously provided information from the previous six months noted that APTMA members units are continuously facing issues and that both interruptions and substandard supplies prevail resulting in the industry’s use of alternate fuels for production at a significant cost.

According to the letter, a closer look at the scenario indicates that the industry is frequently faced with wrongly timed maintenance shutdowns, emergency shutdowns, malfunctions, tripping, and bouts of supply dips and spikes.

“The unfortunate part is that despite direct engagement from the Power Division, APTMA has not been given confidence in the corrective measures implemented by any of the concerned DISCOs. “This circumstance brings us to the regrettable conclusion that, in all likelihood, the DISCOs were unable to do anything to ensure continuous and standard supply to the industry,” the Association continued.

APTMA further maintained that any interruption (even if it is shorter than one minute) or dip/ spike results in inflated disruption(s) in industrial activities, ranging from 10 to 20 minutes - all of which have a negative monetary worth of thousands of rupees for each mill.

The power companies are obliged to provide standard supply to the industry but no steps are taken to fix their problems, it said.

“At the same time, APTMA is not informed of any challenges that the DISCOs are experiencing, which could indicate that the situation is beyond the DISCOs’ capabilities or that the subject is not being given the attention that it deserves,” the Association maintained.

NEPRA previously allowed industrial consumers to increase their load capacity from 5 MW to 7.5 MW. It was interpreted by industry and later clarified by NEPRA (vide letter NEPRA/DG(CAD)/TCD-10/4012-24) that all such customers will be obliged to pay the proportionate cost of grid, including transmission line charges, as well as, the complete cost of land proportionate to the load. However, DISCOs misinterpreted NEPRA’s decision and charged industrial consumers in full. There are presently 108 load extension cases pending with DISCOs.

Despite NEPRA’S clarification, no demand notice has been revised. This prolonged delay caused by procedural issues is incomprehensible. Due to the lack of gas in the country many industrial units seek to switch to electricity; however, delays from DISCOS are reducing production capacity by 20 to 25 percent, resulting in significant loss to Pakistan’s exports/ economy.

APTMA requested Power Division to call a meeting with the DISCOs to map out a strategy for addressing its concerns including the delay in new and enhanced connections.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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