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Govt policies delay power project execution

Whether we call it mismanagement, bad performance, sheer negligence or mere incompetence, it is a harsh reality that the present government has failed to address the power crisis that has crippled the entire society, said sources on Monday. In this regard, the undue delay in the execution of a project for restricting electricity demand is not an exception, further aggravating outages in the country.

The present government has failed to increase power generation, lament sources. Dependable power generation has continued to falter, while electricity demand is also yet to be subsided. The attitude of relevant federal ministries has had a grave impact on power sector projects, thereby discouraging stakeholders. The latest example in this regard has been the ineptness on part of the Federal Ministry of Water and Power.

The project of free distribution of energy saving bulbs will help in reducing peak demand of over 1,000 MW. Besides, $1.84 billion will be saved, while avoiding overall generation of 1,600 MW.

The project will yield clean development mechanism, thus $32 million in revenue will be returned by 2018. It will also help in reducing electricity bills by Rs300 per bulb per annum. Despite the economic considerations of the project, the contract of delivering 30 million energy saving light bulbs is not being materialised by officials. This is despite the fact that the shipments are ready for delivery of bulbs as soon as the contract is awarded to reputed suppliers.

These energy saving bulbs are to be distributed free of cost to the people under the ‘Prime Minister Energy Saver Programme’, aimed at bridging the demand-supply gap by implementing energy conservation policy during the never-ending energy crisis in the country.

Pakistan Electric Power Company carried out a supply contract of 20 million compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) with M/s Philips Electrical Industries of Pakistan and another contract for 10 million bulbs was finalised with M/s Beauty Shadow Company of Hong Kong.

This project was initiated on the prime minister’s directive and was duly approved by the Cabinet as well as ECNEC. The total cost of 20 million CFLs is Rs2.8 billion. Both the contracts of supplying 30 million CFLs are being funded by ADB and AFD of France.

The CFL project was launched over three years back and is yet be completed. Project funding is not an issue, rather bad governance is the major reason for its execution. During time, two tenders for the CFLs were unilaterally cancelled.

Despite inviting bids about a year back and subsequent signing of contract agreement, the lethargic officials of the Ministry of Water and Power are least bothered to carry out pre-shipment inspection as per schedule.

About five million manufactured energy saving bulbs have choked the manufacturing facilities of suppliers due to delay in granting approval to shipment, which has caused losses of millions of rupees.

The pre-inspection team should have reached the manufacturing sector in China earlier this week. However, due to their delay and resultant annual holidays in the manufacturing country, it is feared that the delivery of energy savers would be delayed by at least a couple of months.

The present situation has shaken the suppliers’ confidence and left them in disarray. It is learnt that the suppliers of millions of CFLs are contemplating initiating legal action against the government’s failure in sheer violation of the contract.

This project was earlier completed in 2011 and then it was announced that it would be completed by mid-2012. Later it was announced that energy savers would be distributed by end of 2012 but to no avail. Now, it is likely that the government may not be able to complete the task during its tenure.

When contacted, Director Project Management Unit (PMU) Khalid Hussain Rai, said that some hiccups have caused a delay in the execution of the project. He expressed the hope that such issues would be resolved soon by the Ministry of Water and Power and distribution of energy saving bulbs would be initiated accordingly.

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