CCI defers energy policy approval after Sindh’s skepticism

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  • Sindh demands “first right” to use gas produced in the country
  • PM says energy policy aims at ending load shedding within four years
  • Power tariff to be brought down to single digit

 

 

The Council of Common Interests (CCI) on Tuesday deferred the approval of the new energy policy following reservations expressed by Sindh.

The CCI held its first meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad to devise a new energy policy and to review the law and order situation in Karachi and Quetta.

All four chief ministers, concerned ministers and members of the council attended the meeting to finalise the national energy policy after consultation with provinces.

Reports said Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah expressed serious reservations over the new energy policy and said Sindh produced over 70 percent of the country’s gas, therefore, it should have the first right to use it.

Following reservations by Sindh, a special committee was constituted to review the new policy. The committee is mandated with submitting its report in a week.

The committee comprising all provinces will review the policy in the light of the constitution.

Provincial chief ministers who attended the meeting welcomed the new energy policy and suggested deferring its approval until the report of the committee was furnished.

A strategic plan was also discussed in the meeting to improve infrastructure, management and control power theft.

The new power policy is believed to be centered on generating cheap energy and decreasing dependence on expensive thermal fuel sources, besides making power distribution and transmission system efficient and bringing down line losses.

During the meeting, Prime Minister Nawaz said power scarcity was a major problem being faced by the country and concerted efforts were needed to resolve the issue. He said the government’s National Energy Policy aimed at eliminating load shedding in three to four years.

The prime minister said the power issue needed a policy which encompassed all dimensions and needed a strong will by the federal government as well as the federating units to make it successful. “Provinces’ role is crucial in making the policy a success,” he added.

Nawaz said major problems being faced by the power sector were demand-supply gap, lack of affordability, inefficiency and pilferage. He said the major changes would be brought in the system to overcome these issues.

He said Pakistan was producing 45 percent of electricity with furnace oil, which was too expensive for power generation and had led to higher tariffs.

The distribution losses that accounted for 25-28 percent and theft of electricity amounting to Rs 140 billion per annum were major cause of the shortfall, he added.

Nawaz said the government planned to finish load shedding within next 3-4 years through a multi-pronged strategy.

“The strategy includes production of low cost energy, tariff restructuring, efficient technology transparency and merit-based system. Low-cost energy will be produced by using coal and hydel power for power generation. The extraction of coal and development of the infrastructure for power production will be carried out simultaneously to save time. Till such time that the local coal is available, it will be imported for power consumption. Run of the river projects are being initiated to overcome the short term demands while large dams including Bunji dam and Bhasha dam will be constructed to overcome irrigation needs as well as the power shortage.”

The prime minister said the power strategy foresaw bringing down power tariff to single digit in three years. The tariff restructuring was the main feature of the new energy policy through which subsidies would be gradually rationalised. However, consumers using up to 200 units would be provided subsidies, Nawaz said.

He told the meeting that mismanagement and inefficiency of WAPDA and other concerned departments was responsible for the power crisis.

“It is due to their irresponsibility that we are facing this situation today. They have miserably failed to maintain the system and today our distribution lines cannot bear the burden. At least 1,400 megawatts of electricity can be brought into the system, within one year, only through proper maintenance of the system,” the PM added.

 

He said the government had to take lead in power projects’ implementation strategy.

He announced construction of Gaddani Energy Corridor which would provide services to investors for energy production.

The provincial chief ministers appreciated the energy policy, but requested the council that they needed to have a detailed analysis of the policy in order to further improve the policy within their sphere.

3 COMMENTS

  1. If Sind produces 70% of gas, then there should be no gas load shedding in Sind. Punjab must behave like an elder brother. If it can give something to smaller brothers, good but it must not snatch anything from them. Plus all revenue generated in Sind must be spent in Sind. It is already way behind Punjab in development. Same concept should be applied to the other smaller provinces. Punjab has exploited them enough since 1947 and claiming otherwise. Enough is enough. Now justice should prevail between federating units. Not only in the Senate but also in National Assembly, all provinces must have equal numbers. We, in Punjab, have to discharge our responsibility to save federation. Tall talk and small deeds principle ought to end.

  2. If Sind produces 70% gas and has the first right is wrong.so Punjab should utilize all the water first and then give water to Sind. These type of bias thinking will aggravate the
    problems. All the natural resources provided by God should be equally distributed no matter where it is produced and it is very simple, sit down and talk and resolve and we will have a very strong and prosperous Pakistan

  3. Load shedding will not end in 4 years because there is not enough money to fix the electric grid , equipment and other support facilities. These facilities were neglected for a very long time by Nawaz Sharif , Zardari and other politicians and currently need massive repairs and replacements. This will take deep commitment and lot of hard work, for the next 25 to 30 years under a good leader.

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