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New govt advised to break up discos into smaller units

By Our Correspondent
August 18, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The outgoing caretaker energy minister Barrister Syed Ali Zafar on Friday asked the new Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf- (PIT) led coalition government to break up power distribution companies into smaller units to reduce line losses and leakages.

Minister Zafar advised stepwise procedure to correct the system, which includes breaking up of distribution companies into smaller units.

“For example, Lesco, Gepco and Fesco (Lahore, Gujranwala and Faisalabad electric power companies) can be broken up into 3 to four units each,” he said, presiding over a meeting with the ministry’s officials.

Zafar emphasised legislation to remove theft and non-payment of bills. He also stressed on the need of privatising the discos in a manner where the substantial interests of the government are retained. Electricity conservation is imperative to end energy crisis in Pakistan, he said in an official statement.

The minister said the reasons for leakages in the system and line losses are use of obsolete equipment (overloaded transformers and under-capacity conductors), theft and non-collection of bills. Zafar said the most serious flaws in the system are related to transmission and distribution system.

He said transmission system does not have the capacity to transmit the electricity as there is no integrated planning which results in electricity loss, the network is outdated and there is utter lack of maintenance.

The minister said capital injection in the transmission system is necessary to revamp with integrated planning.

He stressed a need for constituting an advisory board to design comprehensive policy to overcome energy crisis.

Energy minister presented guidelines for power sector for the consideration of the PTI-led government.

“Immediate reforms are required in the energy sector,” Zafar said. “Guidelines are prepared with the help of private and public experts in the field who are fully conversant with the present energy crisis of Pakistan.”

The minister said an independent audit should be carried out to determine what is the exact total generation of electricity so that the future need of the energy requirement can be determined and necessary steps and measures be initiated beforehand.

“Rather than depending on the total generation capacity it is essential that we should rely on the available generation capacity because as an estimate the total generation capacity of Pakistan is around 33,000 megawatts however this total generation capacity is not always available for various reasons such as lack of water or fuel, breakdowns, plant maintenance, de-rating in the capacity due to lack of maintenance,” he said.

Energy minister said the available capacity is less than the demand which results in load shedding. “There is a dire need to increase the generation capacity in the coming years.”

Barrister Zafar said the role of Alternative Energy Development Board has to be increased and preference should be given to wind and solar projects rather than using re-gasified liquefied petroleum gas and coal as fuel to generate electricity.

“Pakistan is a country which has great potential for solar and wind projects.”

The minister said the issues of Diamer Basha and Mohmand dams have to be resolved immediately and once and for all and run of the rivers projects like Sukki Kinari have to be implemented.