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March 2, 2018

‘Addition of 10,000MW to improve situation’


March 2, 2018

LAHORE: Ongoing energy crisis for the last several years has adversely affected the economy of Pakistan but now the situation is likely to improve as 10,000 megawatt electricity is being added to the system.

These views were expressed by the experts in the Jang Economic Session on ‘Change in weather – will power outages end’. The panellists were Tahir Basharat Cheema, Mian Fazal Ahmed, Khalid Ahmed Malik, Ashraf Bhatti, Muhammad Anwar and Yousaf Baloch while hosted by Sikandar Lodhi.

Tahir Basharat Cheema said that focus on new and revamping of old power units was crucial to address the electricity crisis, however, improvement is expected with additional 10,000 megawatt in the system. He said number of issues could be resolved by ensuring 100 percent recovery on electricity bills, besides strict punishment for electricity theft and transparent system which could be done by federal government, not Wapda.

He said line losses in Sindh are 1.2 billion units and 2.8 billion units in Lesco. He called for ending the revenue-based power outages and ensuring bills payments. He said cheap electricity is now an issue while decades ago electricity availability was an issue.

Mian Fazal Ahmed said annual growth of electricity was 5 to 10 percent due to which crisis was worsening. He said average 10 to 15 power outages affecting the economy on both agriculture and industry.

He said currently power demand is 26,000 megawatt while production is 18,000 megawatt while 1,410 megawatt would be added from Tarbela expansion project, 969mw from Neelum Jhelum, 1,310mw from Mangla expansion, and 1,500 megawatt from Sindh coal, besides 2,000 megawatt from coal projects in Punjab which will improve production. Khalid Ahmed Malik said that improved electricity supply in urban centre could not justify that the power situation was improved as situation was still the worst in rural areas. He said circular debt is a big issue in power sector which directly linked to economic growth of the country. He suggested learning lesson from Turkey which came out from the same situation a decade ago. He called for adopting alternate energy saving techniques.

Ashraf Bhatti said that traders were facing forced power outages for many years which put the business at the verge of collapse besides decline in exports. He said power outages were reduced but it was continued in the name of maintenance. He said millions of new appliances were being imported every year which cause increase in energy demand so new power plants should be installed to meet the shortage. He demanded construction of Kalabagh Dam for cheap energy and irrigation water for the barren lands.

Muhammad Anwar said that end of power outage claim could not be correct until it ends in every nook and corner of Pakistan. He said power outages in Balochistan were continued 6 to 18 hours in different areas, 2 to 16 hours in Sindh and similar situation is in KP as well. He called for taking suo motu on Kalabagh Dam construction for cheap power generation.

Yousaf Baloch said that sedimentation in existing dams was increased and cleaning was impossible which reduced the power production and created demand and supply gap situation. He called for ending the politicisation of Kalabagh Dam besides focusing on construction of new water storage, including small dams and lakes. He said that the KP and Sindh should not oppose Kalabagh Dam while India had already controlled the water of Ravi, Chenab, and Jhelum which damaged the agriculture of Pakistan.

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