Govt admits ‘failure’ to reign in load shedding

* Minister, secretary say country’s old power system is capable of handling 15,000MW demand only and trips as demand grows during Iftar hours

ISLAMABAD: State Minister for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali admitted government’s failure in meeting the tall claims pertaining to ‘no power cut during Sehr, Iftar and Taraveeh in the country.
He admitted 25 percent to 30 percent power loadshedding was being made during prayers hours in this Ramazan. This disclosure cum confession was made during a meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Water and Power that was held under the chairmanship of Arshad Khan Leghari. The meeting was held to discuss and review the power theft, which was made in the Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) when Arshad Rafiq was the top man of LESCO. Similarly, total power generation, its supply, and details of losses of the fiscal year 2013-14 were also remained under discussion. Top officials of water and power ministry and LESCO attended the meeting. 
Abid Sher Ali informed the meeting around 100,000 power meters have been changed in the jurisdiction of LESCO during a campaign initiated against the menace of power theft. He said strict action against power thieves was being taken in accordance to the advice of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. It has become difficult to supply power at Rs 10.34/unit to the consumer’s category of tube well while it will have to witness hike by Rs 2/unit, said Abid Sher Ali. He said serious action against the slow meters installed in the jurisdiction of LESCO was taken as per the direction of Nawaz Sharif and chief minister Punjab and Rs 683 million have been recovered from LESCO’s consumers. 
He said new appointments would be made soon after the approval of Nawaz Sharif on a summary that has been forwarded to him for necessary approval. Blaming the old power system as a root cause of increase in power outages, Power Secretary Nargis Sethi told a parliamentary panel the system was unable to afford the power demand of above 15,000 mega watts (MW) while the power demand during Iftar hours remained at 20,000MW and has been causing tripping in the system. More time is required to improve the entire system. Sethi revealed country was facing with a shortage of power transformers and the Ministry was trying its level best to improve the situation while various cases were pending with courts. 

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