PM says govt taking all measures to cut high electricity price

n Shehbaz Sharif calls for moving to renewable energy to reduce oil import bill

 ISLAMABAD  -  Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Monday called for drastic measures including shifting of imported coal-run plants, improvement in power supply system, setting up cost effective and renewable energy plants, and functioning of solar projects to reduce the cost of electricity per unit thus benefiting the ordinary people.

The prime minister chaired a high level review meeting regarding the power sector. The meeting was attended by federal ministers Ishaq Dar, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Ahad Khan Cheema, Attaullah Tarar, Sardar Awais Ahmed Khan Leghari and Dr Mussadik Malik, former minister Muhammad Ali, Member of the National Assembly Bilal Zaheer Kiyani, Rana Ahsan Afzal, Salman Ahmed and relevant authorities, the PM Office Media Wing said in a press release.

The prime minister directed for shifting of the coal-run power plants from the imported fuel to local coal, besides improvement in the power supply system. He said that in future, only clean, cost effective and renewable power plants should be set up in the country.

The meeting was apprised of the 600MW solar power project and the prime minister directed for expediting work on the foreign investment in this regard. The prime minister also asked for proposals for better utilisation of the current surplus power generation capacity in industries.

He observed that wheeling price of electricity should be reduced for the industrial consumers so that power supply at reduced price could be made possible, besides for the industrial development and increase in export, grid stations should be installed near big industries.

The process of auction of those power plants of Generation Companies (GENCOs) that were lying dysfunctional and defective should be accelerated, he further directed.

The prime minister said that the government was taking all measures to reduce price of power per unit for the common man whereas to reduce circular debt, reforms in the power sector were being carried out on priority basis.

The meeting was briefed over the existing power generation capability, supply system, government’s steps and proposals. It was also apprised of the future power demand and supply.

The meeting was told that by shifting the coal-run plants from the imported fuel would not only save the precious reserves but also would make it possible to reduce power price by Rs 2 per unit for the consumers.

The prime minister directed for swift implementation of all the measures within the stipulated time frame.

Also, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday emphasising the improvement of power transmission network, directed the Ministry of Energy to maximize the utilization of renewable energy resources to reduce the country’s oil import bill by billions of dollars.

“Ultimately, we have to move to renewable energy. The oil import worth billions dollars can be controlled by using alternative resources like solar, wind and hydel. Make cold calculations and I believe, you will be the winner in long term,” he remarked addressing a meeting, he chaired to review the power sector’s performance.

The prime minister said utilizing renewable energy resources would also ensure riddance from the crude oil tanker mafia acting as parasites and eating up the national funds.

He pointed out that the country currently imports oil worth $27 billion to meet its power and transportation requirements, and the figure could be significantly reduced by transitioning to alternative energy sources.

Discussing the ongoing drive against power theft, he lauded the performance of the Punjab government and expressed the hope that the other provinces would also follow the suit to overcome the challenge.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that strengthening the country’s power transmission system required utmost efforts and investment, otherwise the power production and investments in the sector would go down the drain, unless the flaws in the transmission network were removed.

He asked the Ministry of Energy to engage world-class consultants to suggest the government ways forward to boost the country’s power transmission system.

Additionally, the prime minister mentioned the heavy rains affecting parts of the country and expressed condolences for the lost lives.

Prime Minister Shehbaz told the participants that he had asked the Chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to coordinate with the provinces and Provincial Disaster Management Authorities to dispatch relief items to the affected areas.

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