SC grills power sector over load shedding

SC grills power sector over load shedding

SC grills power sector over load shedding

ISLAMABAD: During the hearing of suo motu case regarding the unprecedented load shedding in the country, the Supreme Court was informed on Thursday that power generation had been badly affected these days due to the non supply of gas and furnace oil to the power sector.

Appearing before the three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, PEPCO managing director, Zargham Ghulam Ishaq Khan said that gas supply of 250 MMC had been reduced to the power sector leading to a reduction of 1450 megawatt electricity in the system. He said the government was giving priority to consumer sector regarding the supply of gas and power sector was its second priority.The court was also surprised to know that the government was spending Rs740 billion annually for the purchase of fuel. Likewise, subsidy of Rs250 billion is also being spent on power sector.

Upon this, the court observed that despite spending a huge amount, the government and its departments had failed to resolve the energy crisis.The chief justice said that even though electricity crisis was a serious issue, no one seemed interested in making sincere efforts to resolve it.On the query of the court, PEPCO chairman said that they were purchasing oil from Pakistan State Oil (PSO), Shell, Caltex and others with the government still owing Rs113 billion to PSO.He also submitted that there was maximum recovery from the Punjab province, which is 92 percent of the total recovery including 82 per cent recovery from Multan, adding that the percentage of the recovery from Quetta is 48 percent, Sukkur 58 percent and 52 percent from the Hyderabad.

Referring to the telecom sector, the court has suggested the PEPCO chairman to introduce prepaid billing system to overcome the non-recovery of electricity bills.PEPCO chairman told the bench that the government had just installed “smart meters” in this regard in some area of the country.Likewise, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed also observed, we have the largest canal system but no body considered to use it for the generation of electricity.Upon this, PEPCO chairman responded that after the 18th amendment, decision could be taken by the provinces regarding the use of canals for this purpose.

Meanwhile, Arif Allaudin, Chairman of the Alternative Energy Development Board appearing before the bench told that they installed a wind power project in Sindh, which would generate 106 megawatt of electricity. Likewise, he said that 30 projects of same nature were under process, which would produce 1100 megawatts.The court, however, was not satisfied over the performance of this department, which is working since 2004 in Pakistan. It directed the Alternative Energy Development Board chairman to submit details project feasibility reports.

A representative from Ministry of Water and Power said the government was upgrading the system of national grid and they were spending Rs6 billion in this regard, adding that upgrading the national grid system would save 120 megawatt.PEPCO MD, Zargham Ishaq Khan also told the bench that currently nine plants in different localities of the country are producing a total of 3099 MW electricity saying GENCO in Jamshoro is producing 700 MW, Guddu 1100 MW, Muzaffargarh 1130 MW, Lakhra 30 MW, Kotri 140 MW, Quetta 25 MW, Multan 600 MW, Faisalabad 210 MW and Shahdara 15 MW.

PEPCO MD also informed the bench that as many as 4500 metric ton fuel is consumed per day for Jamshoro plant, costing approximately Rs374 million. An official suggested before the court that the power sector should be cleansed of political appointments.Meanwhile, the SC has also directed the PEPCO and other departments concerned to furnish the reasons of load shedding as well as non production of electricity to the consumers on the next hearing. The case has been adjourned till May 9. – DailyTimes