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Better management can reduce energy shortfall, say experts

The country can significantly reduce the power shortfall in the short-term by addressing administrative, technical and financial issues in the energy sector, experts say.

At a conference organised by the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Monday, energy experts said that administrative issues at the power regulatory authorities should be resolved on a priority basis.

The conference was organised to prepare suggestions for the newly elected government, which has promised the people that it will resolve the energy crisis in record time once it comes into power.

Participants at the conference believed that a mounting circular debt was also causing issues in the energy sector, adding that financial irregularities stemmed mostly from corruption, mismanagement and power theft in the sector.

Siddique Shaikh, adviser on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in FPCCI, expressed disappointment that newer power plants, which were more efficient in electricity generation, were being provided less furnace oil.

On the other hand, Engr. Anwarul Haq of FPCCI believed the energy crisis was suffering at the hands of politics. “Not long ago, we were planning to sell power to India as we had sufficient power generation,” he said, adding that the Kalabagh dam could play instrumental role in electricity generation but it had become a politicised issue.

“In the rest of the world, such issues are resolved by experts,” he said, adding that the new government could reduce shortfall by 25-30 percent by appointing competent professionals as the chiefs of various power agencies.

Khurram Sayeed, chairman standing committee of FPCCI on alternative energy, said the elimination of line losses could help in saving of 1500-2000 MW in the short-term. “The government should set up small power plants that can be converted into furnace oil and coal in the future,” said Sayeed, adding that energy deals with Iran should be pursued.

Engineer Jabbar, former FPCCI vice president, said the current crisis was simply the product of an internal failure in the government. Meanwhile, another expert proposed that the government introduce a revised schedule for office timings and shopping centres/markets since such decisions would result in a saving of 3500 MW of electricity.

Engr. Ashok Kumar said the government should utilise the current installed capacity, adding that thermal-based installed capacity stood at 15009 MW – sufficient to eliminate the current shortfall. He also requested the government to ensure the recovery of all outstanding dues.

Yaqoob Chughtai, a German expert in alternative energy, said Pakistan is currently wasting gas for electricity generation when various other means were available for the purpose.

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