FPCCI backs regional power grid to resolve issue of power outages

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The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) have endorsed the government’s decision to operationalise CASA 1000 project and buy power from Russia and Turkmenistan.

According to a press release issued on Sunday, the decision will help the government to shut power plants generating expensive electricity and enable it to serve industrial and domestic customers, said FPCCI President Abdul Rauf Alam.

The FPCCI president said that the business community lauded decision to accept the offer of Russia and Turkmenistan to join the Central Asia-South Asia (Casa) 1,000 power supply project.

Casa-1,000 was supposed to bring 1000 to 1300 megawatt of clean energy from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan but now it will also help other nations to export their surplus electricity to energy-starved Pakistan, he added.

Abdul Rauf Alam said that Tajikistan’s energy sector has been showing growth for the last 15 years generating surplus electricity which should be capitalised as early as possible.

He lauded the government for adopting open access regime which will allow other countries to inject energy into the Casa transmission line without legal complications and saving infrastructure costs.

Additional power will also bring down transmission charges and help GDP growth in Pakistan which has been compromised due to power outages, he noted.

The FPCCI president said that Casa electricity market will help utilise Central Asia’s power resources to meet the growing demand in South Asia while it will contribute to stability in Afghanistan and boost inter-dependent prosperity.

India can also benefit from the surplus electricity to tame its power outages, he noted. Pakistan is currently importing 73MW from Iran to meet the needs of Gwadar at the cost of 6.25 cents per unit, which is higher than 5.15 cents to be paid to Tajikistan.

The cost of Iranian electricity is higher because of oil and gas-based power generation while Tajikistan produces it through cheaper hydroelectric power. Rauf Alam noted that security remains the biggest question mark hanging over the project which can pave the way for a regional power grid since a substantial part of the transmission line will have to travel through Afghanistan.