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LAHORE, May 19: The caretaker federal minister for water and power has warned that power shortfall will worsen during the next week when Qadirpur gas field goes offline for four days due to annual routine maintenance. It will add to another 1,000MW shortfall.

Speaking at a press conference, Dr Mussadaq Malik also took the occasion to curse employees of power companies for “being corrupt to the core, inefficient and not interested in ending loadshedding.” He apologised to people for inconvenience.

“If loadshedding ends, how will they create exemptions and make money,” he said. “During a surprise raid, we found 22 out of 32 feeders off for hours whereas there was no loadshedding in Sialkot and Faisalabad at that point of time,” he told the media.

The minister claimed that unless the government arranged Rs150 billion, the next week could be even worse for power generation. “The Qadirpur field will be on annual maintenance starting May 24 for four days. Its closure will cost the sector another 1,000MW, which will be in addition to the current shortfall of 6,500MW, adding two to three hours of loadshedding.”

Asked why the government should arrange additional money when it had already paid the subsidy amount, the minister said: “Yes, monetary relation with the government is restricted to subsidy amount. But, when we took over, the subsidy money was already spent and we are left with nothing.”

On improving sectoral recoveries, which are hovering around 90 per cent – 10 per cent loss meaning over Rs65 billion, the minister claimed that they were trying to achieve results. “We have changed managements of the companies and trying hard.”

Talking about the current loadshedding and its causes, the minister said the sector was getting 19,000 tons of oil and 150 million cubic feet of gas, which enabled it to generate up to 12,800MW electricity during the election week. The oil supply had now dropped to 10,000 to 12,000 ton and gas was cut to half. The petroleum ministry wanted money, he said.

“It has created a 3,000MW additional hole in generation, which has increased loadshedding duration up to 18 hours.”

Answering a question about almost entire sector being run by people working on “current or additional charge basis,” the minister said rules and regulation were being followed. He insisted that systems would be set in place.

“The city of Lahore now has over 80 per cent smart meters at grids and other companies are following with 60 to 70 per cent. Once they are in place, the theft incidence will drastically come down. The ministry has also handed over key performance indicators to the distribution companies. Thus, system would be set in place and improvement would follow,” he claimed.

Flanked by the federal minister for petroleum and CEOs of all distribution companies, Mr Malik claimed that the system had the capacity to generate up to 13,000MW if it got smooth supply of oil and gas. “If the ministry gets liquidity, it will not only be able to generate additional 3,000MW but also save money by diverting oil to more efficient plants.

“Currently, only the public-sector generation companies, which incidentally are the most inefficient and expensive, are being run because they get oil on credit. Thus, expensive oil is being wasted on them instead of better plants.”

He apologised to the people for “horrendous loadshedding that they are suffering” and at the same time warned “worse is yet to come when gas supplies are reduced further if no money is arranged by the ministry of finance.”