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LAHORE: State Minister for Energy (Power Division) Abid Sher Ali says the government will gradually phase out expensive oil-based power plants and replace them with the gas and coal-fired plants to provide cheaper electricity to consumers.

“Govt aims to phase out entire old and expensive oil-based plants by 2029. With closure of some furnace oil-based plants, we will soon shutdown diesel-based plants,” the minister told media after presiding over a meeting with senior officials of the National Transmission and Despatch Company, Pakistan Electric Power Company and the Power Distribution Companies (Discos).

He claimed that the NTDC and Discos had ended 85 per cent of total system constraints, giving relief to the consumers in the form of uninterrupted electricity supply. Rest of the constraints (15 per cent) would be removed by February next, he added. The minister claimed that the PML-N government had so far added 7,500 to 8,000MW to the national grid during the last four and half years.

He said power cuts in areas coming under high loss feeders would continue till better recovery. To a question about circular debt of Rs400 billion, the minister said it was due to non-payment of power dues by the provinces. “In the areas of Qesco, recovery of Rs156 billion is yet to be made, followed by FATA which owes Rs48 billion. AJK too has to pay Rs56 billion. So this issue cannot be resolved

till making 100 per cent recoveries. But we cannot disconnect power to any province.”Earlier, Abid Sher Ali directed heads of power sector entities to complete their ongoing projects in time. He lauded efforts of all quarters in overcoming load shedding.

POWER: Lesco administration on Friday claimed to have provided electrcity to as many as 11 villages under the Prime Minister’s Sustainable Development Goals Programme, says its spokesperson.

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2017