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ISLAMABAD: The government informed the National Assembly on Friday that power generation capacity is sufficient – as electricity production of the NTDC system stands at 11,580 MW – to meet the system load demand.

In a written reply, the Minister for Power, Khurram Dastgir Khan, said that the government attaches the highest priority to avoid load shedding.

He said that the government prioritise dutilisation of local fuel-based plants to reduce power shortfall. Similarly, bottlenecks for imported fuel-based plants are also being removed to maintain a smooth supply chain.

Responding to a question, Dastgir said that Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (HESCO) will have its own transformer repair workshop by June 2023, as the ministry has issued directions in this regard and the work has already begun.

He said that the HESCO during the fiscal year 2020-21 spent Rs98.722 million on repair maintenance of transformers and during 2021-22 spent Rs175.899 million while repairing 841 transformers. He said that he visited Hyderabad at the direction of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and spent five days during the early period of floods in Sindh and was shocked to know about the issues regarding the repair of transformers in Hyderabad.

NTDC plans to evacuate power from 3 key HPPs

The minister told the house that the HESCO had made an agreement for the repair of transformers with three private companies and these companies following the guidelines of PPMS about repair and maintenance perform their job.

He regretted that in some of the areas people collect funds for the repair and maintenance of transformers in this region and get them repaired through private vendors without following guidelines.

The minister said that he had issued clear directions to the HESCO to establish their own repair workshop before 30th June 2023.

About low voltage, he said that his ministry has already issued directions to make earthing of all transformers across the country along with balancing all three phases of the transformer for ensuring the provision of full voltage to the consumers.

He said that employees of distribution companies do not provide earth to the transformer and balance the load of three phases due to which a transformer fails to provide full voltage.

Responding to another question regarding supply of free-of-cost electricity to the employees of power distribution companies, the minister said that according to their job agreement they are entitled to this facility; however, this facility can be withdrawn with the support of public representatives.

Dastgir said the advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) would be installed by end of the current fiscal year and it would help overcome the power losses in the country.

He said that this system was being used in developed countries and it was yielding positive results both for the organisation and consumers, adding it would also help control electricity theft which was being conducted through “Kunda System” in many areas across the country.

“The installation of this new metering system will bring a significant change in Power Division and also provide relief to the consumers in the shape of minimum load-shedding in their respective areas”, he added.

He said that as per normal routine, the load-shedding was being observed for eight hours, particularly in those areas where 60 to 70 percent of bills were not being recovered but nowadays when the electricity situation was in a better condition, approximately four to six-hour load-shedding was being observed there.

He further said that it was the policy of the government that there should be a short period of load-shedding in those areas where the ratio of losses was low.

He said that before introducing the AMI system, the division concerned installed ABC cable networking across the country on which a huge amount from the national exchequer was spent, but it failed.

He said that the AMI system would also improve the quality of the billing mechanism as it would settle down the issue of deduction bills which was being imposed on the consumers unnecessarily and illegally in various areas of the country.

Complaining about the deduction bills, Dr Darshan Lal proposed the minister to establish a “complaint cell” at the ministry level for timely redressal of the consumers’ grievances.

He went on to say that it was a persistent issue in Sindh and people had to pay extra bills against their consumed units.

In a written reply to a question, Minister for Foreign Affairs Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said as per available record, 236 Pakistani prisoners including three women are confined in prisons under the jurisdiction of various missions in China.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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