Federal Minister for Power Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan said on Monday that electricity tariff would go up for the time being due to high international oil prices.
“We are facing a critical situation and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has asked to look out ways as to how a revolutionary reduction could be made to the non-development expenditures before asking the people to sacrifice”, he said while responding to a query at a press conference at the Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) headquarters. Additional Secretary (Power Division), Musaddiq Ahmed Khan Tahirkheli and Chief Executive Officer Lesco Ch Muhammad Amin were also present on the occasion.
According to him, the prime minister was holding a meeting with the allied parties on Monday night to decide whether power tariff, other than in the shape of monthly fuel price adjustment, should be increased or not.
Also, he said, the government was pondering over shifting to solar generation against coal generation to avail cost effective energy mix by promoting solar generation to deal with the escalating energy prices in the world market. “Not only the furnace oil, but the coal prices have also jumped to $ 600 per ton from earlier $ 250 per ton, therefore, we would focus on the option of solar generation besides carrying out long term contracts with Qatar and other sources for long term contracts of procuring RLNG (Re-gasified Liquid Natural Gas)”, he asserted.
Eng Dastgir said the government would also pursue setting up of a 1320 megawatt coal project under the Thar coal project of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Also, he said, the hydel structure of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would also be transformed to stabilized electricity tariff ahead.
Regarding the claim of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s claim that Russia had offered oil stocks at 30 percent lesser price to Pakistan, he said, not a single paper or line is available with the Ministry of Petroleum for any such arrangement. It was a “fake claim” of Imran Khan, he added.
On the circular debt issue, he said, the government would overcome Rs 2,460 billion circular debt only if oil prices take a downward slide internationally. However, he added, effort would be made to overcome it by re-commissioning the closed power plants of coal, RLNG and furnace oil. Nandipur power project was out of operation since 13 December 2021.
According to him, the present heat wave would be a challenge to deal with and his ministry would work in collaboration with ministries of petroleum and finance to make a difference. Eng Dastgir said the government had added 2520 megawatt electricity to the system to reduce it to zero by 1st of May. On 26th April, he said, a total of 7104 megawatt production capacity was non-operational out of which 5820 megawatt was due to the failure of the PTI government in procuring of fuel. He thanked the officers of ministry of power for bringing 8 to 10 hours a day load-shedding to zero.