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Textile sector criticises load management plan

The textile sector has criticised the recent load management plan for industries, which has rendered millions of workers jobless, said official sources on Wednesday.

“The National Transmission and Distribution Company (NTDC) is currently getting 11,000 MW, out of which 5,000 MW is low cost hydroelectricity,” said Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Punjab Shahzad Ali Khan. “During summer the hydroelectricity production declined to 2,000 MW, while power availability in the system stood at 14,000 MW.”

He added that the Pakistan Electric Power Supply Company (Pepco) has announced four hours of outages during peak hours for most industries, including textile. Furthermore, the power tariff during peak hours varies between Rs12.5 to Rs15 for industrial units. “Why does idle thermal capacity not operate during peak consumption hours to supply electricity to the industry’s independent feeders?” he asked.

According to Khan, as per the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority’s calculation, the cost of power generation with such high hydroelectricity mix is almost Rs11 per unit. The industry with independent feeders, he added, will be charged Rs12.5 to Rs15 per unit. “Lack of power to the industry despite having production capacities does not serve the economy’s interests,” he said. “Pepco will not lose money by generating more electricity for industries during peak hours.”

As textile units have independent feeders, there are no transmission losses to the NTDC, he added. Furthermore, the distribution losses of the sector are also zero. The power distribution companies collect high tariffs during peak hours, which is much more than the production cost of electricity, he said.

Central Chairman APTMA Ahsan Bashir said that the apex trade body of the country strongly protests against the decision of incompetent bureaucracy, which has been creating power shortages even during times of surpluses. “The government must realise that APTMA is not part of the problem but part of the solution,” he said. ”APTMA is ready to take over the management of power sector if the government cannot manage it efficiently.”

He further added that the trade body is determined to achieve its production and export targets by forcing the public sector to manage power supplies prudently. He believes that this requires 100 percent power supply to the industry during the winter season as the domestic demand plunges during this period. Furthermore, he pointed out, domestic consumers can manage without electricity during day times in winter.

According to him, gas supplies will be difficult to manage as domestic gas consumption increases substantially during winter. However, he added, the wastage in domestic gas consumption can be reduced by introducing higher tariffs during winter on gas consumed above the summer average.

Group leader APTMA Gohar Ejaz said that a prudent energy policy for industries will prove wrong the International Monetary Fund’s views about Pakistan’s economy.

“There is nothing wrong with the economy if the government sets its priorities right,” he said. “Job creation by facilitating industries through sustained power supplies will resolve all our economic problems,” he added.

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