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Rs6.5bn released to reduce power shortfall

June 05, 2013

ISLAMABAD, June 4: With electricity shortfall persisting at the crisis level, the government injected on Tuesday another Rs6.5 billion into the power sector to enable it to maintain generation between 12,500MW and 13,000MW during summer.

A senior government official told Dawn that the fresh injection of funds had taken the total power sector subsidies paid by the federal government to Rs350bn, much more than the budgetary allocation of Rs120bn.

The allocation for the tariff differential subsidies was increased to Rs291bn on March 7.

The official said the power sector was estimated to consume another Rs35-50bn during the current month and by the end of the financial year the total subsidies would range between Rs385bn and Rs400bn.

The latest payment was made because of the amount owed by the Karachi Electric Supply Company to the National Transmission and Dispatch Company on account of tariff subsidy. The amount was, however, directly paid to the ministry of power for onward disbursement to the Pakistan State Oil to ensure fuel supplies.

After this payment, the finance ministry released about Rs21.5bn to the power sector from Rs22.5bn approved by the caretaker prime minister before the general elections.

Officials said the total generation on Tuesday stood at about 12,700MW even though the peak generation from hydropower plants had improved to 5,000MW against its maximum capacity of about 6,700MW.

But the computed demand in the national grid was about 17,000MW, leaving a shortfall of about 4,300-4,500MW on Tuesday, resulting in an average loadshedding of about nine hours.

Meanwhile, incidents of inequitable shortage sharing were reported from some areas. For example, consumers in Rawalpindi reported about 12 hours of loadshedding compared with less than six hours in VIP feeders providing electricity to federal lodges, parliamentary residences and ministers’ enclave in Islamabad.

In an informal interaction with journalists, chief executive of the Islamabad Electric Supply Company Malik Yousaf Awan did not contradict reports, but said that because of system constraints field formations had to take prompt decisions on ground to protect infrastructure.