A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Power was held on Monday at Parliament House. The Committee was briefed regarding budgetary allocations and its utilization by Ministry of Energy (Power Division). Outstanding dues on account of energy purchase price and indexation of 81 MW Malakand – III HPS and 18 MW Pehur HPS and non-provision of electricity connections to the newly established industrial units in Dargai Industrial Estate were discussed as well. Points of Public Importance on Power shutdowns in Gadoon Industrial Area and effects of Thar Coal Project on local population were discussed as well.
Chaired by Senator Fida Muhammad, the meeting was attended by Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak, Senator Sitara Ayaz, Senator Shibli Faraz, Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak, Senator Muhammad Akram, Senator Gianchand and senior officers from the Power Division, NEPRA alongwith all concerned.
The meeting commenced with point of public importance raised by Senator Sitara Ayaz on non-provision of electricity connections to the newly established industrial units in Gadoon Amazai Industrial Area. A network is being established to improve the situation due to which domestic consumers had to face load shedding for 8 hrs on a regular basis. The Committee was assured that this work will be completed by summer and that there will be no complaints in the future. The Committee took strong notice of electricity cuts in residential areas on Sundays.
While discussing the Thar Coal Project, in Sindh the Committee was informed that permission from EPA Sindh on environmental impact was imperative to commencement of all projects. It was asserted that company CSR must be encouraged in the area where projects have been started so that local population is facilitated. The Committee was informed that numerous measures are being taken to facilitate the local population in Thar. A 250 bed hospital has been established and 24 schools are working in areas around the project. A branch of NED University has been established in Mithi as well. The Committee taking notice of local displacements directed the Ministry that it would like to review the policy for displacements in these areas. Electricity supply to locals was stressed as well, as Thar’s total electricity consumption does not exceed 1500 MW. It was asserted that that as per policy oil and gas, electricity must be provided to inhabitants of areas nearby to the project. Chairman Committee, Senator Fida Muhammad directed that concerned officers from the Sindh Government and other stakeholders must be summoned in the next meeting.
Taking up the issue of budgetary allocation and utilization the Committee was informed that total annual budget of the Power Division was PKR 265 million out of which PKR 95 million had been utilized until December, 2019. Budget for the current fiscal year for development projects is PKR 75 billion. The Federal Government has allocated 10 billion for development projects. PKR 226 billion has been allocated for power subsidy. The Committee directed that there must be uniformity in tariff rates and an in-built mechanism must be established for this. The Committee also was informed that measures taken by PESCO have curbed the Kunda Culture. Gwadar Electricity Projects have been delayed for 3 months due to the Corona Virus. Circular Debt has been decreased from 34 billion to 12 -14 billion per month. The government has to provide subsidy worth 43 billion for six months. An amount of RS 802 billion of the Circular Debt is with Power Holding Companies. In the current fiscal year RS 134 billion increase in Circular Debt, if timely measures were not taken, Circular Debt would increase to RS 300 billion. A policy is being formulated to ensure recoveries.
While taking up the matter of outstanding dues on account of energy purchase price and indexation of 81 MW Malakand – III HPS and 18 MW Pehur HPS the Committee stressed the need for PEDO payments to be at par with other parts of the country. Levelised cost of energy must be calculated and presented to the Committee in the next meeting.
Discussing non-provision of electricity connections to the newly established industrial units in Dargai Industrial Estate, the Committee was informed that installation of additional 1x20/26 MVA Power Transformer and 132 KV Grid Station Dargai has been approved during December, 2018.However there no space available with switch for installation of the said transformer. The Chief Engineer (Hydel) Warsak, WAPDA has been requested for provision of land for this project.