Govt assures zero outages in industrial areas within ‘few days’

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ISLAMABAD- 

  • Power Minister Khawaja Asif says govt has sought assistance from USAID and China State Grid to prevent complete power breakdowns in Pakistan
  • Says govt will offer new contract to K-Electric Power Company
  • Prime Minister Sharif orders report on Saturday night’s blackout within 48 hours
  • Orders security agencies to ensure comprehensive measures of power transmission system

Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif on Monday said that the government was making efforts to bring load shedding to zero in industrial areas within the next few days, adding that to avoid complete power breakdowns in the future, the government has sought assistance from USAID and China State Grid.

Addressing a press conference after a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Khawaja Asif said that steps have been taken to improve the security of power pylons and an enquiry has been ordered into Saturday night’s sabotage in Balochistan’s Naseerabad district. He added that the prime minister had instructed the Power Ministry to submit a report on the massive power breakdown within 48 hours.

“Eight hours load shedding will be carried out in the rural and six hours in urban areas,” he added.

Asif ruled out speculations that the power shortage was a result of the oil crisis, saying that Pakistan State Oil (PSO) has booked 12 orders which will start arriving in Pakistan by Wednesday.

After reopening of canals, there has been an increase in hydel power generation, Asif said, adding that the release of water from Tarbela and Mangla will bring 6,000 megawatts of electricity to the system.

He also said that as per directions from the Supreme Court, the government is making efforts to provide “equitable load shedding” from Karachi to Peshawar, adding that power tariffs are also being reduced. As the agreement with K-Electric expired, the government plans to contact the electric company for a new agreement, he said.

While talking about overcoming load shedding, Asif said that it is most likely to end by the summer of 2017.

To a question, the Minister clarified that the government is not increasing but decreasing the power tariff.

When asked about the privatisation of DISCOs, Khawaja Asif said the PML-N government is pursuing the policy of the previous PPP and MQM coalition government.

PM ORDERS ENQUIRY:

Earlier on Monday, Prime Minister Sharif directed the Ministry of Water and Power to present a report on the technical aspect of the electricity breakdown within 48 hours.

The premier issued the directives while chairing a high-level meeting on the power breakdown at the Prime Minister House. He also directed that a comprehensive system should be in place so that such a blackout can be avoided in the future.

Khawaja Asif briefed Sharif on the factors responsible for the massive breakdown and updated him on the current power supply situation in the country. Asif said that the situation is gradually improving and soon the system would be normalised. Sharif also directed law enforcement agencies to ensure improved security of high transmission lines and urged them to urgently develop a strategy.