Federal Minister for Energy (Power Division) Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan on Tuesday said that the government had decided that only indigenous fuel-based power plants would be established in future to provide sufficient and cheap electricity to the masses.
According to press release by the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) here, the federal minister held a meeting with business community in FCCI Complex late Monday night and said that he had performed the ground-breaking ceremony of a 500-KV new grid station in Allama Iqbal Industrial City (AIIC) which was a part of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
He said, "One-year ago, when Shehbaz Sharif came into power, we decided that power houses would be completed on top priority basis on which work was abandoned during 2018-2022."
He said that because of their sincere efforts 720-MW Karot Hydroelectric Power Project had been completed. Similarly, the stuck-up projects in Thar coal were also geared up and during one-year 1980-MW of electricity was added in the system from these projects, he added.
He said that K3 and K4 nuclear power houses were initiated in 2014 during the period of Nawaz Sharif. K3 would generate 1100-MW and it was expected to become operational very soon, adding that during one-year, 7800-MW electricity was added in the system and all these projects had been based on local fuel.
He said, "Despite inflation and appreciation of the dollar, we had not increased the rates of electricity since last September as we were getting cheap electricity from Thar and Karot. With addition of 7800-MW electricity, our total generation capacity had jumped to 28,000-MW."
He further said that during last June peak load demand was 30,000-MW which reduced to 8,600-MW in January this year. "In order to keep 22,000-MW generation capacity intact, we have to make capacity payments," he added.
He said that Pakistan had additional generation capacity but the old and inefficient power houses were used in case of dire need as the electricity produced by these units was very costly.
He said that his ministry was making strenuous efforts to resolve the other technical problems in addition to improving the transmission system in the country.
He said that just 5-6 month ago, he inaugurated new grid stations at Lalian and Painsra and FESCO had made savings of Rs.1.5 billion due to these grid stations while Iran-Gwadar transmission line had also been completed. 'It was inaugurated jointly by Iranian President and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif', he said and added that Thar-Mitarai line had also been completed which would transmit the electricity generated by Thar power plants to the major load centers of the country.
He said that Nawaz Sharif had initiated a number of cheap energy projects during 2013-2018 but work on these was stopped or slowed down during the last four years. However, Shehbaz Sharif's government was completing these projects on a top priority basis.
He said that work on AIIC grid station had also been expedited as roads and boundary walls were being completed speedily while the new grid station would cater to the energy needs of existing and new units to be constructed in this mega industrial estate.
He was critical of the mushroom growth of private housing colonies and said that real estate and appreciation of dollar had badly hit the economy as the capital parked in housing societies was not generating much-needed new job opportunities.
Responding to a question, he said that his ministry was not against subsidies to the export sector but the government had to bear this expense. "As the industrial sector is also preparing to switch over to solar energy, hence we should introduce a separate system for it," he added.
He was optimistic and said that solar energy would bring down the overall cost of energy while he would request investors to set up solar plants near rural grid stations from where they could sell their energy to the FESCO.
He further said that Dasu and Diamer-Bhasha Dams with generating capacity of 4500-MW each would be completed in 2028-2029.
He said that in order to save energy the production of old filament bulbs had been banned while directives were issued to produce fans with energy efficient inverter technology. In the next phase, the government was contemplating to shift motorcycles and three-wheelers on electricity but for this purpose 'we have to create a complete infrastructure', he added.
On the demand of FCCI President, the minister assured to include President FCCI in FESCO Board of Directors (BOD) as an Ex-officio member.
He said that FESCO Chief would appoint a focal person and a facilitation desk would also be established in the FCCI.
Earlier, President FCCI Dr. Khurram Tariq in his welcome address highlighted the problems being confronted by the business community regarding electricity.
Later, Dr. Khurram Tariq presented FCCI shield to Federal Minister Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan and the minister also recorded his impressions in the FCCI visitor's book.