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Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. -File Photo
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. -File Photo

ISLAMABAD: With temperature still below 40 degree Celsius, ghosts of loadshedding have already started haunting the length and breadth of the country. The most worried at the moment is obviously Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif since his party had won elections on the promise of dealing with the power crisis on a war footing.

With demonstrations being held over loadshedding in the interior of Sindh, where mercury in some districts has crossed 40C, and Punjab subjected to increasing outages, the government appears to have bent its mind to addressing the problem.

On Monday, the prime minister held yet another special meeting with a one-point agenda — how to keep loadshedding at a manageable level — following a similar huddle last Wednesday.

Water and Power Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali, Information Minister Pervez Rashid and senior officials of the power ministry attended the meeting.

A government official privy to the meeting said the power ministry had sounded confident about keeping electricity shortfall to 3,000MW during summer, meaning six to eight hours of loadshedding.

But the situation on ground isn’t as promising as being conveyed to the power minister, or for that matter to the prime minister.

For example, a senior Wapda official told Dawn that the national grid faced a shortfall of over 5,000MW on Saturday. With this shortfall, more than 10 hours of loadshedding is a must.

“The challenging task for the government at the moment is collection of bills which currently stands at 80 per cent, coupled with pending electricity dues by private and public sectors,” the official said.

As of Jan-Feb, the outstanding dues stand at Rs492 billion — Rs366bn against the private sector and the rest against the public sector.

The crisis was because of mismanagement in the power sector which needed to be improved if the government wanted to keep the people off the streets, the official said. For regular payment to power generation companies, the government must improve recovery of electricity bills and ensure that circular debt does not pile up.

The government official claimed that Prime Minister Sharif had ordered ruthless recovery of arrears as well as current dues and asked the two power ministers to monitor the situation daily.

“I don’t want any excuse; if someone within the ministry fails to perform, change him, sack him. I want better performance. Cut supplies to electricity defaulters,” the official quoted the prime minister as saying.

In future, Mr Sharif said, no electricity connection would be restored without clearance of bills and before informing the Prime Minister’s Office.

A senior PML-N leader told Dawn that the next three to four months were crucial for the government. “Imran Khan (PTI chief) has already announced a protest movement against the government and, God forbids, if we fail to reduce loadshedding the PML-N is in for a tough summer. Therefore, the prime minister is rightly concerned and taking necessary pre-emptive measures.”

According to the official statement, the prime minister was briefed on electricity theft and performance of power distribution companies (Discos) regarding recovery of dues. Mr Sharif directed the water and power ministry to expedite the recovery drive and adopt a ‘zero-tolerance’ towards electricity theft.

The prime minister was also briefed on the electricity load management plan. He ordered that all efforts should be made to ensure consumers faced minimum inconvenience during summer.

It was decided that a comprehensive energy conservation plan would be developed and executed after holding consultations with all stakeholders, including traders, manufacturers and retailers.

Comments (42) Closed

Badar Apr 29, 2014 07:53am

Any plans to reduce or eliminate power wastage, theft and pilferage? In Karachi, its more than 30%, In Lahore around 12%. That should be a critical aspect of strategy, no Mr PM?

Syed Apr 29, 2014 08:16am

oh my sweet p.m.. you care so much for us. now that you have been in power for 1 year and it almost may, you have started to worry. you are a real VISIONARY leader.

Syed Apr 29, 2014 08:22am

Also my dear PM, you do not have to worry anymore. You are already in power now. The worry time is over. Its the people of this country who voted for and now its their turn to reap what they sew.

Arshad Waheed Apr 29, 2014 09:38am

PML-N government is working hard on many fronts as compared to previous governments and we should encourage them with positive comments.

Mian Shahid Mehmood Apr 29, 2014 09:48am

Lip service appear to be your (PM) policy. In one year you have added nothing to power generation sector. The politicians are same every where; they would promise to build a bridge when there is no river.

Azam Apr 29, 2014 09:57am

O Pakistanis, congratulations. This is what you voted for, right? Keep it up, good job.

Omer Apr 29, 2014 09:58am

Worried? Oh really? He appears rather clueless!

Danish Apr 29, 2014 10:20am

Great news, soon we will see.

ALLY WAQAR Apr 29, 2014 10:23am

"One-point agenda

sarah hussaini Apr 29, 2014 10:31am

its time to fullfill promises sir g.....

sarah hussaini Apr 29, 2014 10:38am

hot summer is tough and high time for pml n....opposition and pti are keeping an eye on government

Fahad Apr 29, 2014 10:46am

Let alone the PM, even his brother is confused. Shehbaz Sharif cannot decide when should the load shedding finish. Sometimes he said 6 months, then 2 years, then 3 years, no latest development says 5 years. Even one knows what will happen after 5 years. PPP will come to power and say that the last government did nothing to reduce load shedding and the Khazanay khali hain! I love Pakistani politics.

khanm Apr 29, 2014 10:46am

Dear prime minister with due respect, the great chunk of electric power is stolen by the elite, politician, bureaucrats, feudal lords and that is worrying us a citizens

Junaid Khan Apr 29, 2014 11:02am

This issue cannot be resolved until we stop talking about the line losses. Why should the Bill payers be paying for the thefts being made by the high level officials, ministers & others with references of the mentioned? This is not justice. Be equal to every citizen. Can anybody tell me the Bills amount being paid by Mr. Sharif, Mr. Zardari, Mr. Khan, Mr. Fazal Ur Rehman etc etc?? They are the big contributors to the so called Line Losses which are to be paid by the poor and below middle class people. These high profile people enjoy non-load shedding line of electricity. Further, the country is facing serious load shedding ghost and in turn I've witnessed Islamabad High Court building which is supplied with non load shedding line and have a mess of lighting system on outside and inside. All these lights remain glowing all the night long. For security reasons, no one needs internal lights being glowing and only require few search lights on the posts to glow the building and its surroundings. Governments are making fool of its citizens. The per unit rate for electricity sufficient to run the thermal power plants but ....... just to tease the citizens on instructions by IMF, WB and ADB.

Adnan Apr 29, 2014 11:06am

Please visit slums in Karachi where concept of energy savers doesn

Tasmia Apr 29, 2014 11:36am

Last government is responsible for creating such defaulters.. I agree PM is not doing all what exactly he can do but if he is calling defaulters to account .. means he is doing something better

Aussie Apr 29, 2014 11:54am

Haha....what a joke. Had not this PM plundered billions of dollars from this country there wouldn't be any power shortages.Asking the snake for antivenom.

M Rafique Apr 29, 2014 12:12pm

Poor P.M. Reporter Saheb, please also report P M is having lavish Break fast, Lunch and dinner (and some extras in between) or not because of these worries. Its very important for general public.

khanm Apr 29, 2014 12:49pm

@Adnan Insanity - a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane Pakistan.

mabi Apr 29, 2014 12:57pm

@Syed you shouldnot insult him rather you have to encourage him and one thing no one can be 100% ok he gave facilities as welll ok.........

Junaid Khan Apr 29, 2014 01:07pm

Let give charge of Water and Power Ministry to the banned militants group and then see what happens. All the line losses and load shedding will be ended immediately. I am not in support of the militants but know the nature of our people in-charge who can work well under the so called Daanda.

Aftab Alam Khan Apr 29, 2014 01:38pm

PM has taken the matter seriously on increased load shedding problem being faced by the people in these scorching days of summer. Can his sentiments and steps now to be taken by the relevant Ministers bring the load shedding to a manageable level?

Saad Apr 29, 2014 01:45pm

Kinda funny how IESCO has cut the power to the prime minister's secretariat.

tariq Apr 29, 2014 02:23pm

@khanm You cannot do that to the future Amirul Momineen!:)

muzammil ullah khan Apr 29, 2014 02:51pm

The great loud mouth Khwaja who is the actual minister and responsible for all this is missing in action ! Good that the PM has spoken but where is that great orator ! Hiding behind the young Abid Sher Ali !!

Nauman Rafique Apr 29, 2014 02:53pm

Increment in load shading how can be a problem for our beloved and innocent P.M.? This blessing is for my cute nation.

ali Apr 29, 2014 03:00pm

i read dawn news everyday and i make best od PLM N they are working and working much better like last time and better than previous government and also like metro karachi operaton and motorway extention i also encourage not only this but hope the best for loadshedding i hope for the best PML-N

Parvez Apr 29, 2014 03:09pm

Does he look worried ?????? duh !

zak Apr 29, 2014 03:35pm

People are out on the street and riots have begun and Nawaz has just started to get worried. Can some one switch his and his families electricity off, then he may know what its all about.

Muhammed Ali Apr 29, 2014 03:40pm

@Syed They will reap what they sowed, electing a party that has had 2 bites of the cherry, Pakistanis will never learn!

A Pakistani Apr 29, 2014 03:55pm

Thank you for caring about us, the people of Pakistan. There is no magic to make country self sufficient in energy overnight. Government is pursuing aggressively campaign for increasing energy supply that is bound to benefit people over the next few years. People need to support government's campaign to minimize energy theft so that more energy becomes available for those who pay the bills.

Muhammed Ali Apr 29, 2014 04:13pm

@A Pakistani Energy theft is the main problem, last year i remember ARY telling us that Hina Rabbani Khars husband owed Rs 6 crores 27 lakh in electricity bills and nobody had the guts to go and cut him off, we need the rich to pay and set an example, yet here they are the biggest thieves going...also NS should be worried after all he did PROMISE to sort this mess out in a short period, why make promises you cannot keep..

khanm Apr 29, 2014 05:51pm

Guys save your anguish writing the comments

zak Apr 29, 2014 06:16pm

Musharaf come back-all is forgiven!

Man from UNCLE Apr 29, 2014 06:35pm

PM and Zardari and all the PM's from the past is a subset of Pakistan nation. Now what do you have to say about the nation.

Man from UNCLE Apr 29, 2014 07:01pm

PM left for UK. On his way out he assured that he would do the worrying from UK. So lets not be dejected.

zack Apr 29, 2014 07:30pm

Didn't he promised in his election campaign to produce more power and that there shall be no load shedding!!!

zack Apr 29, 2014 07:30pm

@Azam I agree.

zack Apr 29, 2014 07:31pm

But then actually nobody voted for him.

Fiz Apr 29, 2014 09:07pm

"Increased loadshedding worries prime minister"


Omar Apr 30, 2014 01:00pm

Dear commenters : work is being done on many projects but it takes times. For example no one can build a new house in 1 day, no one can solve electricity problem in 1 day. We have not built any ppwerplant for more than 10 years, now work is ongoing and we will see end to loadshedding in future IA. Also the government needs to build dams as dams are the only way to produce clean and cheap electricity in our country

Pakistan Zindabad

Ganga Din Apr 30, 2014 05:16pm

"Increased load shedding worries prime minister"

Yeah Right. Poor guy is crying himself to sleep every night, LOL.