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Energy policy: PM to toughen up on power thieves

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has summoned a high level meeting on Monday to review the implementation of energy policy and also the performance of the ministry of water and power.

A Prime Minister Office spokesperson said the ministry of water and power and other stakeholders would brief the PM about solar energy projects in collaboration with foreign companies. Besides this, different projects related to generating electricity by coal would also come under discussion, he added.

He said the ministry of water and power will brief the premier regarding the strategy adopted in line with the energy policy to reduce line losses.

The PM will also be apprised about the processes to recover long outstanding electricity dues against the provinces and some major organisations, to control power theft, reduce load-shedding duration, setting the per-unit price and efficiency in power production.

Sources added the PM is also expected to take some important decisions to further toughen the procedures of prosecution against those found guilty in power theft cases and prolonged non-payment of bills.

The officials said that steering the strategies expeditiously would remain the premier’s prime focus regarding new projects of Gadani, Jamshoro and the existing ones such as Chashma, Neelum-Jhelum‚ Nandipur‚ and Tarbella.

PM will be given a detailed briefing over the government’s agreement with a consortium of leading international banks including the Asian Development Bank (ADB). They have recently shown their willingness to provide $1.82 billion for two coal-based power plants to be installed in Jamshoro and Gadani, having a production capacity of 660 megawatts each.

The coal-fired plants are being set up by the government as part of a plan to generate 9,800MW of electricity through coal in an effort to bring down production cost.

In an interview with state radio on Thursday‚ Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif has said that 5,000MW electricity would be generated within the period of four years‚ which would be included in the system to facilitate consumers.

The minister said that the government is taking all necessary measures to bring improvement in the energy sector. He said the only and immediate solution to energy crisis was to increase power generation by alternative sources.

He said steps are being taken to generate electricity from Neelum-Jhelum‚ Nandipur‚ Tarbella-IV and several other small projects‚ which would be completed in near future.

The minister stated that the government is making efforts to eliminate the mafia involved in power and gas theft and the ministry of water and power has taken concrete measures to nab the electricity thieves.

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