PM Ashraf tells ministers to step up power generation
31 August, 2012
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Thursday urged the ministries of petroleum, finance and water and power to coordinate and work collectively to reduce the gap between the demand and supply of power.
He issued these directions while chairing a meeting at the Ministry of Water and Power. Raja said he had great hopes from the secretaries' committee formed by the government to give recommendations to improve the power situation in the country. The secretaries' committee comprises federal secretaries of finance, petroleum and water and power.
He said the committee should ensure uninterrupted supply of fuel for optimal generation from power plants and also come up with doable suggestions to improve the entire energy chain from generation to distribution.
The prime minister said the government had been giving Rs 250 billion annually in subsidy despite financial constraints, to reduce the burden on consumers. The subsidy, which averaged to Rs 3.5 per unit, had not attracted appreciation from the public, he observed.
Raja directed NEPRA to work out an upfront tariff for investors interested in alternate energy projects like wind and solar. This would help investors in making decisions to invest in the energy sector without going through complicated and complex procedures for seeking tariff in each case, he said.
Raja said there should be zero tolerance for those who did not pay their electricity bills. He directed the Water and Power Ministry to redouble their efforts to recover the outstanding dues so that the financial health of the energy sector could be improved. "The consumers making full payments should not suffer because of defaulters," he said.
The prime minister said that after the NFC Award, provincial governments had a better fiscal space. He appreciated the proposal that provinces should pool their finances and invest for construction of hydropower projects.
Earlier, the WAPDA chairman briefed the prime minister on various hydropower projects, including the Allai Khwar-Battagram, Jinnah Hydropower-Mianwali, Gomal Zam Dam-South Waziristan Agency, Satpara Dam-Skardu, Duber Khwar-Kohistan, Jabban Hydropower Malakand and Laraib HPP.
Raja was also briefed about the progress made so far in the construction of Diamer Bhasha Dam and the efforts being made to garner finances for the project.
The WAPDA chairman thanked the prime minister for his personal interest in the release of Rs 6 billion which would ensure the completion of the Rainee Canal and Katchi Canal projects by the end of this year. Raja said he would like to visit the projects soon.
The meeting was also attended by Water and Power Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar, Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Adviser to Prime Minister on Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain and State Minister for Water and Power Tasneem Ahmad Qureshi.