LAHORE – Since a year of its establishment, the Punjab Energy Department could not produce even a single unit of electricity due to non-provision of funds by the provincial government and legal issues of power tariff determination with the Federal government, TheNation has learnt.
The 18th Amendment empowered provinces to set up own power generation plants of upto 50mw capacity.
The Punjab government had taken the special initiative to establish a new Energy Department with allocation of Rs 9 billion in 2011-12 budget.
‘The provincial government has not released funds for the department from the allocated amount. Foreign investors are not willing to invest in Pakistan due to security reasons and banks are also reluctant to give loans’, said sources.
Though the feasibility studies of several projects have been completed, about 62 various projects of about 1800 mw capacity are lying pending due to shortage of funds, unwillingness of investors and legal hurdles on tariff determination, they added.
Among the 62 projects, 18 projects of 629mw capacity are in public sector, two of 420 mw are joint venture while 42 projects of 829mw capacity are in private sector. ‘It is clear that Punjab government has no money, the foreign investment is also almost blocked in the country due to security issues’, said an official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
But the officer defended the department’s position, saying the one year period is not enough even to complete a small project.
Despite problems, he informed, the Energy Department has established a power plant of 6 mw capacity with the help of private sector. The plant near Shahdra would start generating electricity soon, he added. The officer was of the view that the provinces were not independent as they are being considered in generating electricity even upto 50mw capacity.
‘The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) is working as an autonomous regulatory agency for country’s power sector and was not cooperating with Punjab’. He told this scribe that a development project had been lying pending with NEPRA since 2009 .
He said that a draft for establishing an independent regulatory authority has been finalised and would soon be sent to Law Department.