Imran Khan and PTI saved from ONE big DIFFICULTY.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013 E-Mail this article to a friend Printer Friendly Version

Power shortfall likely to hit 7000MW this summer

* Ministry of Water and Power estimates generation would stagnate at 10,000MW

* Finance Ministry refuses to increase power subsidies from revised Rs 291 billion

By Sajid Chaudhry

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Water and Power has assessed that power shortfall may go beyond 7000MW in peak summer season this year when demand will grow and generation will remain stagnant at 10,000MW.

The power crisis is going to worsen further in the summer, as the Ministry of Finance has refused to increase the volume of power subsidies from upward revised benchmark of Rs 291 billion. Against an immediate demand of Rs 57 billion, the Water and Power Ministry and WAPDA have been directed to ensure recovery of Rs 207 billion from private sector, Rs 140 from the provincial departments and Rs 69 billion GST refund blocked with the Federal Board of Revenue to meet its additional requirements. A senior official at the Ministry of Finance said on Monday that Rs 180 billion had initial been allocated for power sector subsidies for the entire fiscal year 2012-13.

However, the growing imbalance between the costs of generation and sale of power has resulted in jacking up of this allocation to Rs 291 billion for the fiscal year. According to the official the Ministry of Finance had released Rs 257 billion till the end of March 2013 and Rs 11.2 billion further have been released to PSO for oil arrangement. The sources said that despite an increase in allocation for power subsidies, power managers of the country are now demanding Rs 57 billion in one go to arrange furnace oil, so as to ensure minimum load shedding in the summer season, especially at its peak in June and July.

When contacted, Finance Special Secretary Rana Assad Amin said that “there will be no increase in upwards revised allocation of Rs.291 billion”. He said that it has been decided during a high-level meeting that Water and Power Ministry and other power managers would be required to arrange additional funds, in case the subsidies goes beyond Rs 291 billion. In this regard, power managers have been directed to ensure maximum recovery of Rs 207 billion from the private sector through the National Accountability Bureau.

Although the National Accountability Bureau has started a crackdown against the power defaulters, however, recovery position is less than satisfactory, an official at the Water and Power Ministry disclosed.

Similarly, they have been directed to ensure maximum collection from provincial governments the power dues to the tune of Rs 140 billion and Rs 69 billion from the FBR on account of blocked GST refund on power bills. The official sources at the Power Ministry said that due to the non-availability of furnace oil in required quantity for the next two or three months, the duration of load shedding would increase to an unbearable level. According to the officials at the Water and Power Ministry some 700MW of power been lost due to the damage caused to a gas pipeline, whose repair would take some time.

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