No credit to PML-N for ending power load-shedding: Ayub

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Power Division Omar Ayub Khan Friday said credit did not go to Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) government for ending power load-shedding in the country as the past government left behind unpaid circular debt of Rs. 650 billion.

Addressing a press conference here, the minister said the previous government did not enhance the power tariff despite NEPRA’s determination apparently for winning general elections and continued power supply to loss making feeders resulted piling up of Rs.200 billion dues.

He said currently, there was zero load-shedding on 8790 feeders during Sehar and Iftar and around 80 per cent feeders have been completely cleared from power theft. Even 10 hour electricity was also being provided to consumers of Tribal Electric Supply Company (TESCO) by removing system constraints, he added.

He said the credit goes to entire team of power division led by Secretary Irfan Ali, Chief Executive Officers of power Distribution companies and staff for their untiring efforts.

He said some 3000 MW electricity was ensured through removing system constraints and controlling power theft.

He said additional Rs.81 billion revenue was generated through recovery from private sector during October 2018 to April 2019. 

The minister said that no concession would be given to power pilferers and circular debt would be zero by December 2020.

Omar Ayub said currently 60 per cent electricity was being generated through imported costly fuel. However, he said share of Renewable Energy (RE) was gradually being increased in the energy mix and by 2025, 25 per cent electricity would be generated by RE.

The minister said RE would be 30 per cent of total energy mix by 2030 which would help save foreign exchange.” By 2030, 30 per cent each electricity will be generated by RE and hydel while 10 per cent though nuclear,” the minister said.

He said the PTI led government took pragmatic steps for bringing reform in the energy sector. NEPRA had recommended Rs.3.80 per unit tariff hike but the government increased only Rs.1.27 per unit. No power tariff was raised for consumers using upto 300 units, he added. Similarly, small traders were also exempted from tariff hike, he added.

Omar said automated meter system was being introduced in the country which would help eliminate power theft completely. Meters were also being installed on pole-mounted transfers and Islamabad Electric Supply Company had already floated tenders in this regard.

The minister said power distribution companies including Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO), Quetta Electric Supply Company (QESCO) , Multan Electric Supply Company (MEPCO) and Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) were also being bifurcated for enhancing their performance.

He said around 30,000 FIRs have been registered against power thieves while 4000 were arrested so far.

Departmental actions were also initiated against those officials who were involved in power theft, he added.

Replying to a question, the minister said that a sum of Rs 300 billion including Rs.200 billion through plugging power pilferage and Rs 100 billion from dead defaulters would be recovered till next June 2020.

He said the government inherited obsolete power distribution system and efforts were being make to up-grade it.

To another question, the minister said there was shortage of manpower in the DISCOs and people would be recruited purely on merit.

To a query, he said no power tariff was being increased for consumers using upto 300 units and Rs 230 billion would be earmarked for provision of subsidy to such consumers in the upcoming budget.

He said investment would not only be made in transmission lines of 500 Kv, 220 Kv and 132 Kv but also in power generation.