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Energy crisis

Pakistan has a special Energy Law, in which the Government of Pakistan agrees to pay a minimum agreed monthly payment to all power producers for the contract period, even if no power is supplied, this means that if the power plant is not operating, Pakistan would still pay the energy bill. In 2008, eight thermal power plants and two Nuclear power plants were forcefully shut down for maintenance, which automatically reduced supply of electricity. Now WAPDA had less units to sell and thus had less income per year, but the payments to the thermal power companies was at a fixed rate, creating a very large bill of $100 Million as well as energy deficit. This helped these power companies profit while they were not producing any energy for Pakistan. One must think who could do this to his own country and why?

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If the PML-N government is serious in looking for solutions to this horrendous problem, I can suggest some ‘Fast Track Solution’: Although fuel supplies and payments to the thermal power plants can be increased, to produce more energy, but with the low efficiency, the energy produced will be at a very high cost. Therefore the best option would be to install 5000MW Coal Power Plants in locations that are away from population, and near a port or other transport facility and close to the National Grid.

The Coal Power plant can be installed in one year and can start producing electricity within 6 months of installation. During this time transmission lines to National Grid needs to be constructed. Similarly infrastructure construction for handling coal and housing for workers etc need to be constructed. If good technologies are used, this source of power can be very cheap and also very dirty, but at least it will help reduce the heavy cost of Thermal Fuel Power plants for next 6-10 years.

Since Pakistan has low quality lignite coal, which is not suitable for power production, but this coal can be processed into the high quality coke, which is also used by PSM. Therefore it would be a good idea to promote and install coke manufacturing industries, close to coal mining areas.

SHAHRYAR KHAN BASEER,

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