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Stop 700MW power supply to KESC, demands Punjab

The Punjab government has asked for an immediate stop to supply of 700MW of electricity daily to the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) by the Central Power Purchase Agency (CPPA), say official sources.

According to a senior official, the demand was raised by Punjab Chief Secretary Nasir Mehmood Khosa at a meeting of the chief secretaries of the four federating units over the equitable distribution of electricity.

The meeting was attended by Zafar Mehmood, secretary of Water and Power Ministry, as well as the chief secretaries of Gilgit-Baltistan and AJK, the MD of National Transmission and Distribution Company and senior officials of the provincial power departments and the Water and Power Ministry.

At the meeting, the provincial representatives made detailed presentations regarding their energy requirements, power withdrawals, receivables and payables, and provided updates on dues cleared by them.

They also submitted their suggestions for equitable distribution of electricity.

According to the official, during his submissions, Khosa insisted the Karachi Electric Supply Company should not put forward non-payment of bills by the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA), Karachi, as an excuse for not paying the CPPA.

“And if the Karachi Electric Supply Company continues non-payment, there is no harm in disconnecting the electricity supplied to it by the Central Power Purchase Agency, since this is one of the main causes for the prolonged power outages in Punjab,” the official quoted Khosa as having said.

According to the official, Khosa also said the Punjab government is ready to pay its dues – reconciled till 2010 – to the Central Power Purchase Agency, provided the other provinces also cough up their share.

However, he is said to have refused to share the subsidy on tubewells, saying that the Punjab government is opposed to any kind of subsidy.

Khosa, the official said, also claimed that the financial health of power distribution companies in the Punjab is far better than that in other provinces because of the high recoveries of bills, reduced line losses and lesser electricity theft.

He is also said to have demanded the inclusion of provinces in the monitoring of power distribution and has suggested that the federal government ensure the smooth supply of oil and gas only to efficient power plants.

Meanwhile, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief secretary Ghulam Dastagir Khan is said to have demanded that his province be exempted from power outages since KP generates cheap hydel much beyond its requirement.

Khan’s view was endorsed by a legal expert who accompanied him, who said that under the constitution of Pakistan, a province has the first right to consume the electricity generated in its jurisdiction and the surplus should be passed on to the other provinces.

Sindh chief secretary Raja Muhammad Abbas had another litany of complaints. According to the official, Abbas said the Hyderabad Electric Supply Company and Sukkur Electric Supply Company are being provided 1,100MW of power against their share of 1,300MW.

He maintained that if KESC is included, the share of the entire province would stand at 15 percent of the electricity generated.

Abbas also claimed that the Sindh government has paid reconciled electricity dues amounting to Rs15 billion and the remainder is to be adjusted by the federal government in consultation with the government of Sindh.

According to the official who attended the meeting, the chief secretary of Balochistan also complained about the fact that against an entitlement of six percent of total generated electricity, his province is only getting five percent.

Meanwhile, in the press release issued here on Thursday, Water and Power Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar stated the committee will finalise its recommendations keeping the suggestions of the provinces and the report of technical experts in mind. Insisting that the provinces were facing equal levels of power outages, Mukhtar further promised to address the provinces’ reservations and end the energy crisis.

At the meeting, it was decided that the suggestions would be taken up by the technical experts of the ministry and provinces in a meeting to be held after Eidul Fitr.

It was also decided that the committee constituted by the CCI on equitable distribution of electricity will submit its recommendations to the CCI on August 31.

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