LAHORE: Pakistan is expected to sign agreements with Asia-Pacific Corporation and some other companies during the next two weeks under which the latter will invest over $10 billion in power and gas sectors, which will help the country overcome energy crisis to a large extent.
The investors’ delegations will start arriving in Pakistan today at the invitation of the government and the agreements will be signed by Sept 20, knowledgeable sources say. At a time when Pakistan’s ratings have been downgraded and even local entrepreneurs are taking their money out of the country, these agreements will be a great achievement of the government.Asia-Pacific Corporation, of which Dr Iqbal Wahla is the country head, is believed to have played a vital role in persuading the foreign investors to join hands with the Islamic Republic.
Before signing the Letters of Intent, the delegations will meet with the president, the prime minister and ministers and officials of the relevant ministries.Under the agreements, existing power and gas meters of all users across the country will be replaced with efficient ones, as a result of which substantial amounts of electricity and gas that are either stolen or wasted because of leakages will be saved. The company dealing with the power sector will set up an energy savers plant in Pakistan at a cost of $3 billion. The bulbs to be produced by the proposed plant would replace the existing 120 million bulbs and streetlights across the country.
It will save 1,500 MW of electricity being wasted by the existing system.All 18 million households would be provided with four bulbs each at a reduced rate of Rs 40 apiece. And replacement of any fused bulb during 15 years would be cost-free.Similarly, all 23 million electricity meters in the country would be replaced with new efficient ones. The project is estimated to cost $5 billion.The option of installing pre-paid meters is also there. These meters will obviate the possibility of thefts or arrears getting piled up as once the charged amount is over, the user will not get any more electricity unless he recharges his account.
The new meters will save the country 200 MW of electricity.The tariff of the power to be saved through energy savers or new meters will be decided by the investors and the Pakistan government. The government will make the payments on ‘Pay as you earn’ basis.Another project proposed to be launched is aimed at increasing the efficiency of the existing hydropower projects. It will cost $200 million.The upgradation, rehabilitation and optimisation of these projects would raise their generation capacity by 1,339MW.The 10 thermal power plants will also be rehabilitated at a cost of $300million.
This will raise their power generation capacity by 1,711 MW.It is said the thermal power plants are operating at just 23 per cent of their installed capacity. With their upgradation, they will be working at 85 per cent capacity.Pakistan is facing up to 18 hours of loadshedding in various parts of the country and countless industrial units have been closed because of the power shortages. As a result, hundreds of thousands of workers have lost jobs. The country will need 60,000MW electricity by 2050.
In the absence of financial resources, nobody knows how the gap between demand and supply will be bridged. The project to replace all gas meters will cost $1.5billion. This will save up to 32,329MMCF of gas per year.Answering a question, the sources said the energy savers plant can be set up in just a few months. And once it goes into operation, bulbs and lights across the country can be replaced in up to 15 months. – Nation