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Pakistan

Web Desk
January 24, 2021

Miftah Ismail slams PTI govt for raising electricity price

Pakistan

Web Desk
Sun, Jan 24, 2021

ISLAMABAD:  PML-N leader Miftah Ismail has criticised the incumbent government's decision to increase power tariff by Rs1.95 and putting a burden of Rs200 billion on  consumers. 

Miftah said the PTI government had increased the rates due to a raise in the country's revolving debt. 

“We left revolving debt at Rs1,036 billion – this included electricity deficit and bank loans. Under Imran Khan, the figure has exceeded Rs2,400 billion and it grows by Rs50 to Rs60 billion per month due to expensive power generation," he said. 

The former finance minister said PM Imran Khan had raised electricity prices soon after assuming office in an attempt to stop revolving debt from increasing. “Annually, the revolving debt is increasing by Rs600 billion which is mostly due to losses incurred in transmission and distribution of electricity.”

 “When the PML-N came to power, the electricity wastage was recorded at 21%. We reduced it to 18% and now the current government has again raised it to 19%," he said, adding that the electricity wastage was costing the national exchequer loss of Rs15 billion on average.

Miftah claimed the average collection of electricity bills stood at 93% during the PML-N tenure but dropped to 80% during PTI tenure as the country was hit by the coronavirus pandemic last year. “At present, the electricity bills collection stands at 88%.”

He claimed the PTI government is not complying with the Nepra merit order and a 5% recovery rate was also causing losses.

Miftah criticised the PTI government's decision to generate power from expensive power plants instead of opting for cheaper options and slammed the delay in ordering LNG supply. He said the PTI government was generating electricity from expensive sources: furnace oil and diesel.

“Last summer, they made 280 million units of electricity from diesel costing Rs18 per unit, and five billion from furnace oil costing Rs13. One unit of electricity generated from LNG and natural gas costs about Rs6 or less,” he said.

The former minister said the PML-N government had generated more than 11,000 megawatts of electricity and planned to increase the generation. “On one hand, the PTI government says there is power surplus and on the other, they are establishing new power plants,” he said, adding that the PML-N government left power consumption increasing by 10% but the incumbent government has “wrecked the economy leading to a decrease in consumption.”

Miftah claimed that people have applied for 3,000 MW connections but the government was not issuing them. He urged the government to close down 50-year-old power plants running on furnace oil, Miftah said the commodity benefitted few and is causing great loss to the country. 

Gas supply

Criticising the incumbent government’s decision to suspend gas supply to domestic industry from February 1 and export industry from March 1, PML-N leader Miftah Ismail has demanded the decision be withdrawn.

According to Geo News, Miftah said it was strange to not suspend gas supply to industries. “This will cause serious problems for textile and other sectors.”

The former finance minister said the incumbent government was buying LNG at expensive rates as it was placing orders late. “[They] fail to purchase gas and dump the rubble of its incompetence on industries,” he said, urging the government to withdraw the decision.