Govt taking steps to overcome energy crisis: Abid Sher Ali

ISLAMABAD: State Minister for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali has said that the government is pro-actively executing diverse programmes for resolving the energy crisis in the country.
Talking to APP here he said Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has been reiterating that the power sector is central to the country’s development and economic stability and his government is committed to resolving this crisis through concerted efforts and short and long term measures and programs. 
The Minister has said that as a result of government’s commitment and efforts, the power situation in the country is much better, as compared to previous years and there was no load shedding in the country from Oct – Dec 2013.
He added that the energy crisis in the country has come to this stage through years of neglect, ill planning and miss management. The present government after coming into office in June, 2013 faced multiple issues like, 12 to 18 hours of Load shedding, IPPs and GENCOs running under capacity (av. 50% to 70%), Circular Debt of over Rs. 480 billion, a yawning supply-demand gap where the demand for electricity far outstrips the current generation capacity (Up to 3500 - 4000 MW) and a terribly inefficient power transmission and distribution system.
To this end, the Minister said, the Government of Pakistan under the august leadership of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has taken bold measures in the power sector, including: successful initiation and implementation of the National Power Policy 2013, clearance of circular debt of Rs. 480 billion, bringing in dormant capacity of 1700 MW in the national grid, improved demand and supply side management and development of cheaper energy resources to achieve optimum results regarding power generation in the short, mid and long term projects.
Abid Sher Ali further told that new Power Plants are supplying about 1400 MW power to the national grid resultantly duration of load shedding has been minimized significantly.  
The growth of demand since last year is being met by this added power generations. The government has taken all the steps in the right direction starting from the policy to the implementation, and expedited stuck up projects to bring in new generation, from improving efficiency to cheaper fuel plants, from theft control to recoveries, all areas have been focused. These steps have been taken while keeping in view the commitment made by the government for resolution of the Energy Crisis. 
He mentioned that system still sees a supply and demand gap. The government has several plans in place to reduce and then eliminate this gap. These plans include “Coal based power plant at Port Qasim,  Gadanni power park where 6600 MW coal based power plants will be setup, ADB approval of jamshoro coal based power plant, world bank’s commitment and their board anticipated approval of Dasu project, speedy work at Neelum Jhelum hydro power project, import of power from India and CASA-1000, the inauguration of 747 MW Guddu power plant, 402 MW Uch ll power plant, the revival of 425 MW Nandipur power plant, super critical coal based power plants in Punjab, the power generation addition of about 2200 MW by the end of this year, Sukki Kenari,  karoot and Patrind hydro power projects, the reduction in line losses by about 1%, improvement in recovery by 2.1% to name a few”. 
Abid Sher Ali shared that IMF Mission Chief in Pakistan Jeffery Franks has also stated that there was improvement as number of projects for increasing power generation was already underway and cited the examples of Dasu and Basha hydropower projects. The government has been working on LNG facility and making investment on increasing gas production. However all this will not happen overnight and will take couple of years to achieve the desired results.

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