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LAHORE: Iran and Pakistan would upgrade the existing transmission line by doubling the circuits from Polan to Gwadar on their respective sides for the supply of 100 megawatt electricity, said power sector sources.

It may be noted that Federal Minister for Power Khurram Dastgir Khan had held a meeting with Iran’s Minister for Energy Ali Akbari Mehrabian in Tehran recently and discussed various aspects of electricity supply from Polan (Iran) to Gwadar. Iran would upgrade 27 kilometer transmission line from Polan to zero point on the border sharing with Pakistan, followed by doubling the circuits on the TL from zero point to Gwadar port.

Pakistan is already getting 100 megawatt electricity from Iran through this route and an addition of another 100 megawatt would increase power supply from Iran to Pakistan to 200 megawatt in total, said sources from Quetta Electric Supply Company (Qesco). The sources further confided to this scribe that Pakistan had asked for 200 megawatt electricity from Iran, however, it was revised down to 100 megawatt due to the transmission issues.

The sources said Iran was supply electricity at a price of 9 cents per unit. The sources further pointed out that payment to the Iranian authorities was a herculean task due to the international sanctions against Iran. According to the Qesco sources, the total demand of the distribution company was 2000 megawatt and it was facing a shortage of 700 megawatt. Therefore, the supply to the consumers was being managed through revenue-based load-shedding.

It is worth noting that a 3000 megawatt coal-fired power plant is also due under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Financial closure of the same has been finalised and China is likely to complete it in three years.

When contacted former managing director Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) Tahir Basharat Cheema, he said mainstreaming of the province of Balochistan has become need of the hour. Also, he said, the process of receiving energy from Iran should be institutionalised to mitigate payment issues against the energy supply. So far as the recovery of arrears against electricity bills is concerned, he said, the federal government should settle it through negotiations.

It is worth noting that the federal government had installed diesel generators in 17 different coastal locations to produce electricity during the peak hours back in 1970s. It was followed by import of electricity from Iran in three different phases, starting with 22 megawatt, then 35 megawatt and finally 100 megawatt in 2010. Dastgir has approached Iran again to bolster the electricity supply now to meet the energy demand of Gwadar port.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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