ISLAMABAD: The Iranian government has stopped supplying electricity to the coastal areas of Pakistan’s Balochistan province due to increase in Tehran’s own power demand, Power Division officials on Thursday informed the Senate Standing Committee on Power.
Officials of the Power Division said that Iran has stopped supplying 80MWs of electricity of 100MWs that it was normally exporting to Pakistan. This is because of the heatwave in Iran which has increased its own demand. This move by Tehran has affected the power supply to Makran coastal areas, including Gwadar, Panjgur and Pasni. CEO Lakhra informed the Senate Committee that the Lakhra Power Plant consisted of three units, each of 50 megawatts. Since 2007 to-date its losses amounted to Rs12 billion. The committee was briefed that administrative expenditure along with employee related costs are reasons for the losses incurred. The committee demanded a complete list of employees and the expenditure incurred on paying salaries and pensions. The committee was told that losses of the Lakhra Coal Power Plant reached Rs992 million per annum.
The committee that met here with the Fida Muhammad in the chair stressed that Lakhra Power Plant must be upgraded and tariffs must also be discussed with Nepra in accordance with the situation.
Power ministry official also said that that 650 megawatts electricity was supplied to K-Electric (KE) on the instruction of the Sindh High Court. The committee was told that the agreement expired in 2015 and the process for the new agreement has been completed. Further issues will be discussed when the Shanghai Cooperation takes over from the Abraaj Group.
MD NESPAK briefed the committee that it was established in 1973 and it is a public institution with a board of directors chaired by secretary Power Division. The total number of employees is 5,323. The work of the institution has been divided into 10 divisionsand 652 projects have been completed in the last three years. The institution has earned Rs6 billion and 150 different projects are running in 37 countries around the world.
The committee took serious notice of electricity shortfall in different districts of Balochistan. Chairman Committee Senator Fida Muhammad recommended that concrete measures should be taken to resolve the issue at the earliest. While discussing problems faced by industrial units in Pakistan, the Standing Committee requested details of new electricity connections being provided to Hattar Industrial Estate.
Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq complained about low voltage issues at the industrial zone owned by him. CEO Sepco informed the committee that 10 districts came under its range. He revealed that there were 54 grid stations in rural areas, however, recovery, he stressed, was a serious issue. He lamented lack of police support in this regard.
CEO Pepco briefed the committee that in Bannu 50 percent dues for electricity has not been paid by the consumer, while the recovery status of Malakand Division is 100 percent. Chairman committee showed displeasure at this and stressed that it was unfair that despite 100 percent recovery no development funds are spent on this area. He directed the officers of the Ministry, DISCOs chiefs to chalk out a mechanism to motivate consumers to pay electricity bills. This, he asserted, could be recovered in installments.
The meeting was attended by Senator Maula Bux Chandio, Senator Aurangzeb Khan, Senator Maulvi Faiz Muhammad, Senator Mushahidullah Khan, Senator Muhammad Akram, and senior officers of the Power Division, NESPAK, Qesco, Hesco, Sepco and Pesco.