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Wapda chief to get greater role in power crisis management

Amid violent protests against the crippling power outages the government, on the on the advice of Ch Ahmad Mukhtar, is contemplating a greater role for Wapda chairman Shakeel Durrani in efforts to overcome the electricity crisis.

According to sources privy to the development, electricity generation companies (Gencos), NTDC (National Transmission Dispatch System) and CPPA (Central Power Purchase Agency) would be directly brought under the control of Wapda chairman and to this effect a notification is expected soon.

These sources, however, are not sure whether it will be a step forward towards unification of Wapda, which had earlier been divided into three Gencos, NTDC, CPPA and nine Discos. The Wapda spokesman also confirmed that Shakeel Durrani has been given the task to monitor the power situation and supervise the electricity load management to contain the crisis. He said the distribution companies had also been directed to report to Wapda chairman on load management.

The copy of the order says that Mr Shakeel Durrani should also locate himself in NPCC (national power control cell) to monitor the power situation and dispatch of electricity to the distribution companies.

The spokesman, however, offered no comments when asked if Wapda chairman has been made in-charge of Gencos, NTDC and CPPA but sources claim he might be given the charge of these entities on a temporary basis.

All the three Gencos, NTDC, CPPA and nine Discos are being supervised under the umbrella of Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco). Since the unbundling of Wapda, the power crisis has aggravated.

Ch Ahmad Mukhtar during his visit to Lahore had suspended the Pepco chief for his inability to overcome the power crisis. The challenges for Mr Durrani include: i) improvement in cash flows to ensure sustained supply of reasonable quantity of furnace oil, RFO and HSD to run the thermal power plants; ii) arrangement of 207 mmcfd additional gas to get additional 1100 MW of electricity and iii) strict vigilance over 6-hour supply of electricity to the industrial sector from the quota meant for domestic sector.

The News has already reported how officials of various electric power distribution companies (Discos) have been found involved in providing uninterrupted electricity to some units of influential industrialists by subjecting domestic consumers to prolonged and unscheduled loadshedding.

The government under the load management plan is extending 6-10 hours power outages to urban domestic sector, 14-hour load shedding in the rural areas and 6 hours to the industrial sector.

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