LAHORE: Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali said on Saturday that the government through continuous and effective measures had increased electricity transmission capacity across the country by 2,800MW ie from 13,500MW to 16,300MW and it would further be scaled up to 20,000MW by end of the next year.
In a media briefing here at WAPDA House, he said the government had also stretched 1500km-long new transmission lines besides setting up of new and upgrading some of the existing grid stations in the country. He added that this would only help overcome low-voltage problem but also end load-shedding by end of 2017.
To a question, the minister said they were addressing the issue of over-billing, adding that a new mechanism of printing meter-reading picture on the bill is being introduced while consumers would also get an SMS about meter-reading. These measures, he said, would curb over-billing as well as figure-out the corrupt officials at low level in the distribution companies. To another question, Abid Sher said efforts were also being put in place to improve recoveries besides giving incentive package and “we will go to every level for this purpose.”
He added that Sindh government’s Rs 69 billion recovery was receivable, HESCO (Hyderabad) and SEPCO (Sukkur) Rs 70 billion, PESCO (Peshawar) Rs 90 billion, QESCO (Quetta) Rs 148 billion, AJK Rs 48 billion and FATA Rs 49 billion. Abid Sher said electricity worth billions of rupees was being stolen across Pakistan, asserting that PESCO’s 600 feeders are running in loss and its 110 feeders are making up 85 percent losses, similarly there were law and order issues in QESCO domain, while all the four distribution companies (DISCOs) in Punjab (Lahore, Faisalabad, Gujranwala and Multan) and Islamabad’s (IESCO) accumulative losses remained at only 14 percent.
He, however, thanked the Balochistan chief minister for his efforts in improving security situation. He also thanked the KPK Chief Minister for provision of land for construction of a grid station at Chakdara, KPK. He clarified that a few days back, the power-break down was not because of load-shedding but of load-management and non-construction of the Chakdara grid station was one of the main factors of that power outage.
To another question, the minister said power crisis was a national issue which should not politicized through provincialism, asserting that all the distribution companies are being provided electricity as per their set quota and despite all difficulties, the government is providing electricity also to K-Electric to ensure relief and ease to the people of Karachi.
He said former rulers made hollow claims of increased generation capacity but there was nothing on ground as the relevant contracts were then giving to companies having no experience or operations in the energy sectors.
Regarding privatizing of DISCOs, he said, this issue belongs to the Privatization Commission, and Ministry of Water and Power has nothing to do with it.
To a query, he said the loss of lives due to heat wave in Karachi was a national tragedy and all our sympathies with the bereaved families, who faced irreparable losses.