CHI - Federal Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervez Ashraf on Thursday claimed that the power crisis in the country would be resolved next summer saying that hydro power plant projects and rental power plant projects are in pipeline and it would become functional before next summer.
He was addressing Meet-the-Press programme at Karachi Press Club. PPP Central Information Secretary Fauzia Wahab was also present on the occasion.
He said that government will improve the electricity distribution network in the city saying that this was the major issue of Karachi and will be resolved at end of June 2010.
He warned the KESC to produce the electricity as per the production capacity of the organisation and stop the access billing in the city saying that government will appoint the magistrates and police personnel to stop the electricity theft. Government would not allow any organisation, including KESC to charge access billing he added.
He said that government was providing the 700 mega watts daily to KESC to maintain the electricity supply of the metropolis, saying that Karachi is the economical hub and largest city of the country.
This was the responsibility of the organisation, which has purchased the KESC to produce the electricity in full production capability, he added.
He said that in a meeting with KESC authorities, he will ask the KESC authorities to produce the electricity as per the production capability of the organisation saying that government will provide the fund to KESC to convert their production units into gas plants. He said that he heard that KESC have not produced the electricity in full capability production due to the financial crisis and also not purchased the electricity to the IPPs.
Federal Minister said that NEPRA imposed penalty on KESC over the recommendation of federal ministry.
Commenting over the government decision to increase in the power tariff, Federal Minister said that this was very difficult for the elected government to take unpopular decision like the increase in power tariff.
He said that the generation of cost per electricity unit is Rs 9 per unit and government is charging Rs 5 per unit giving subsidy at the tune of Rs184 billion per annum.
He said that this was quite difficult to suffer the burden of subsidy saying that increase in oil prices can also affect the per unit price.
Federal Minister said government wants to generate electricity by water, which is a long-term plan. He informed that at present 65 percent of electricity is generated through oil and the cost will reduce if the same amount is generated through water.
The shortfall of electricity will be possible in the month of May and June but rental production units are cleared and we will generate electricity to overcome the shortfall of power, he added.
For the time being to meet the present requirements, rental power projects were introduced for short term, which were criticised by people without any consideration, he said adding that audit of the project by ADB and other formalities caused delay in its operation and power crisis could not be resolved on the given date.
He said required electricity will be added in the system with the start of IPPs power projects. He said that due to the steps being taken by the government, the power situation is now improving.
He said that the government has cleared the debt of former government and it reached at only Rs 70 billion to pay which will be cleared soon.
He said IPPs are ready, but there is no gas available to operate them. He further said that gas reduced the cost of power generation by one-third as compared to the oil.
He said no dams could be built in past years to save water through which electricity could be generated.