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December 15, 2018

Murad blames federal govt for delays in Sindh’s power projects

Karachi

December 15, 2018

A large number of energy projects initiated by the Sindh government have hit snags due to delay on the part of various bodies under the federal government. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said this on Friday while meeting with Federal Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan at CM House.

The provincial government initiated green energy projects of 4,000 megawatts in 2015 but their approvals are still pending with relevant entities of the federal government’s power division, the CM complained. “How will we be able to meet energy requirements of the country under such circumstances?” he said.

Energy generated from renewable energy sources such as wind and sunlight was the cheapest energy not only in Pakistan but worldwide, Shah maintained. Terming Sindh the energy hub of Pakistan, he told Khan that the only economically viable wind corridor in the country was situated in Sindh while the province also had a huge potential to generate power with solar radiation, biogas, geothermal and waste to energy projects.

The federal minister was told that at present there were six power projects in Sindh, including three of wind and solar energy each, pending the letter of support from the federal government though the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) announced tariff for them which was around US five cents.

The power acquisition request (PAR) from the Central Power Purchasing Agency – Guarantee (CPPA-G) was pending for 21 power projects, Shah said, adding that the government was also awaiting data sharing by the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) to conduct feasibility studies of 22 projects.

The federal power minister informed the CM that he was making the system in his ministry more effective and efficient so that work on pending projects could be expedited. Shah also expressed concern over the fact that no new policy for renewable energy was announced since the Renewable Energy Policy 2006 lapsed on March 5, 2018.

“No action has so far been taken,” the CM said. “The new power installations in the world are based on renewable energy technology,” he added and proposed that the old policy be extended as a stop gap arrangement till the government announced a new policy.

The federal minister assured the CM that the new policy would be announced soon which would cover the country’s requirements, new technologies and other aspects. Shah also took up the issue of prolonged load-shedding in the province with the federal minister. Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh regretted that prolonged load-shedding had been badly affecting the economy of the rural areas of the province.

It is inhumane to resort to prolonged load-shedding in areas where recoveries of bills were low, the CM remarked. “If some residents do not pay their power bills in a village, you can’t penalise the entire village by disconnecting their transformers,” he said, adding that technological solutions to deal with defaulters should be explored instead of resorting to power cuts.

Khan informed the CM that the federal government had planned to launch a massive drive against kundas and illegal connections in Sindh. The federal minister sought the CM’s support for the drive to which the CM assured him of his full cooperation.

The federal minister also assured the CM that he would look into all the pending power project cases of the Sindh government and dispose them of accordingly. The provincial government would be taken on board while resolving all the issues of power projects, Khan said.

The CM also urged the federal power minister to visit the Thar Coal project and witness the performance of the provincial government. The meeting was also attended by Federal Power Secretary Irfan Ali, Principal Secretary to CM Sajid Jamal Abro and others.

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