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Experts see no immediate solution to energy crisis

Experts have unanimously agreed that energy is the biggest challenge being faced by the new government and no immediate or short-term solution to the crisis is in sight.

Addressing the Jang Forum held at Dadabhoy Institute of Higher Education on Tuesday, Zubair Motiwala, chairman of the Sindh Board of Investment (SBoI), said that the inefficient and costly energy mix is the main problem.

Around 60 percent of the country’s power generation was thermal burning gas and costly furnace oil, he said, adding that the natural gas is getting scarce, while Pakistan has no money to buy the furnace oil.

Inefficient governance and non-implementation of policies has taken the country to this mess, he said.

Motiwala said that the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) and the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) are the white elephants and should be dissolved.

“These two authorities are pursuing anti-Pakistan agenda and discouraged investment in the energy sector,” Motiwala said.

Citing an example, he said that the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) has recently issued a letter to an intending investor that the network of NTDC did not had the capacity to receive power until 2016.

He said that Pakistan is very rich in resources but the same are not being harnessed due to vested interests and official bottlenecks.

He suggested that the monopoly of Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) should be ended and an upfront tariff should be prepared so that the surplus electricity generated by the captive power plants could be added in the grid.

Zahid Hussain, former chief executive officer of the Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL), portrayed a very grave situation, saying that there is no exploration and development activity in Balochistan, Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, while Sindh has reached its saturation level.

The import of liquefied natural gas (LNG) project has already hit the air-pocket and it would take at least two years for LNG to come to Pakistan, while Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline is a political issue and is not likely to be materialised soon.

Hussain said that the upcoming government would have to take unpopular decisions such as eliminating power sector subsidies along with installing sincere and efficient management in the sector.

He underlined the importance of preserving energy and utilising sunlight. He was skeptical about the markets opening from midday to midnight.

Majyd Aziz, former president of the Karachi Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), said that Pakistan is the only country having installed capacity of more than the demand but still the people are braving power outages.

Presently, Pakistan has the installed capacity of 11,500MW, while the production is around 11,000MW. He said that the subsequent governments were never concerned with the good and well being of the people except their own gains.

Aziz suggested that there are several captive power plants that are generating surplus electricity and could be supplied in the national grid. He also suggested that if 10mmcfd gas was provided to each of the 10 industrial zones of the country, they would be able to generate 500MW, which could help the industrial sector meet their electricity demands.

Abdullah Dadabhuoy, chairman of the Dadabhoy Institute, said that the prevailing energy crisis is because of the faulty policies of the subsequent governments.

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