Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif has the new energy policy envisaged measures to end load shedding‚ bringing down generation cost and making necessary investment in the infrastructure to attract investment in the energy sector.
Addressing a news conference after approval of the national energy policy by the Council of Common Interests‚ he said the subsidy being paid on electricity would be reduced by the next year through tariff rationalisation.
Asif said new rates would be announced in a few days while new tariff for commercial and industrial consumers would be applicable from the first of August and change in tariff for domestic consumer would take effect from first of October this year.
He‚ however‚ made it clear that new rates would not be applicable to those consuming up to two hundred units a month.
The minister said through tariff rationalisation‚ efforts had been made to put burden on those who had the capacity to pay. He said the country would have to confront circular debt worth Rs 600 to Rs 700 billion again next year if no tariff rationalisation was done.
He said due to payment of circular debt worth Rs 480 billion‚ peak generation of hydel power and other measures introduced by the government‚ the system produced 16,170MW of electricity the other day, which was highest in the history of the country.
He said it would be an effort of the government to maintain electricity generation at 15,000MW so as to bring down the duration of load shedding.
The minister said as of Wednesday, 5,900MW of electricity was being generated through hydel sources and 7,900MW by IPPs.
He said the average generation was 15,300MW against a demand of about 18,000MW.
He said there had been a clear decrease in load shedding during Ramadan and now it was at the level of 8-9 hours to 12-13 hours a day.
“When our government took office, the shortage was at 5,000MW and has now reduced to 3,000MW.”
He said in the last 20 years, more power was produced through oil and hydel power generation was ignored and now Pakistan was “number one in producing power from oil”.
The minister said steps were under consideration to regulate the use of electricity in markets and business centres in evening.
“The waste of electricity is getting out of control as it is used for illumination of buildings and for lighting streets.”
He said 1100 megawatts could be saved by early closure of markets in evenings while 700-800 megawatts would be saved with use of six million imported energy savers, which would arrive by September.
About rioting in Bannu, Khawaja Asif said two feeders in Kaki and Mandan were shut down as power losses due to theft reached 93 percent and 92 percent in these areas.
The power for these two feeders would not be restored if those stealing power did not clear their arrears and agreed to pay bills in the future, the minister added.
The increase in power tariffs is a belated, long due step. It is a common sense that if you produce a unit of electricity at Rs18 per unit and sell it at Rs9 per unit, you cannot sustain and end up in a circular debt thus choking the entire system.
The circular debt popped up in 2007 when Musharraf's government deliberately kept the prices lower despite the fact that international oil prices had shot up to US$147 per barrel since it was then an election year. The circular debt of Rs 70 billion in 2008 rose to the level of more than whopping Rs500 billion in 2013.
It is very important to rationalise the tariff if you want to provide a service on sustainable basis.
The unit prices needs to be kept high because of generating electricity with oil fired units. These units should have been changed over to coal years ago. This did not happen because Zardari and Mian saheb were busy for the past 5 years taking good care of each other. Further more the electric system and the equipment needs massive upgrades and replacements, which is very expensive and time consuming. Overall the current conditions of 12 hours of load shedding will continue for foresee able future as long as next 20 years. Forget about any large improvements in the next 5 years, does not matter what Mian saab says or does.
Punishing the nation, unnecessarily, due to wrong doings and failures of the former governments. The nation cannot bear the costs of High rise petrol costs and high power tariff. The actual method of the government is to collect revenue by direct/indirect means. Shame to them.
Corrupt government officials creating artificial loadshedding in some areas to collect bribes, THIS should be handled!
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