Apr 07 - 13, 2008

LAHORE: In the face of electricity crisis being faced by the country putting negative vibes on national economy and productivity, the Pakistan People's Party led coalition government has started work on fast track basis to overcome electricity shortage.

Prime Minister Mr. Yousuf Raza Gilani speaking at the signing ceremony of 525 MW Chichoki Mallian power project with the Chinese company Dong Fong Corporation has expressed the resolve for provision of additional 2200 MW of electricity within one year. The new democratic elected government has given instructions to Wapda to overcome power shortage in a shortest possible time.

According to a senior official in WAPDA, the new government's policy is to ensure energy sufficiency in the country on least cost basis. WAPDA is devising a rationale strategy to cope with the prevailing power crises in the country.

On the other hand, analysts say the top most priority of the new government should be to redeem the alarming situation in the power sector, which arose due to non-addition of new generation over the past 10 years. The last major addition in power generation was carried out in 1994-96 under the then People's Party government due to which 4500 MW electricity was added.

They proposed launching of wind and solar energy projects in Sindh and Balochistan with maximum utilization of local engineering capability in collaboration with international technology holders and through the creation of special companies by the public sector such as WAPDA and PEPCO.

About the Chichoki Mallian Power Plant, WAPDA officials said that the project has been approved by the government for fast track implementation. Dong Fong Electric Corporation from brotherly country China has concluded the agreement with PEPCO in a very short timeframe. This plant located in the centre of high power demand area will provide much needed power to the industry, business and the people.

Sources in WAPDA told PAGE that the new democratic elected government is also going to announce long-term policy with emphasis on coal-fired generation based on indigenous coal to overcome power shortage in the country. Currently, WAPDA high ups are preparing the draft of policy.

On the other hand, the government has already announced several energy conservation measures, which will be enforced by the concerned institutions. These include installation of 10 million energy saver bulbs, which will be provided free to charitable institutions as well as women and children care houses. All buildings would be required to use saver bulbs within the prescribed time limit. Private houses and businesses will be encouraged to use saver bulbs on payments recoverable in installments through electricity bills.

According to Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) Managing Director Engineer Munawar Baseer, energy is essential for economic prosperity and both developed and under developed countries are focusing on enhancing their energy capacities apart from working on other forms of energy such as coal, solar and wind energy for power generation.

""Pakistan is a country full of natural resources with 158 billion tons reserves of coal. It is high time for the public sector companies to make investment in the power sector while private companies should also make investment in it. With the participation of both public and private sectors, we can resolve our energy crisis," Baseer said.

According to sources in WAPDA, PEPCO is initiating various reforms in making the Pakistan's power sector more efficient and customer friendly to boost the economy of Pakistan. Currently, PEPCO is pursuing its plan in two ways, one from demand side, and second from supply side management.

""PEPCO is enhancing generation capacity of the country by rehabilitation of existing plants, adding of fast track rental generation and accelerating IPP generation within 2008. Managing the demand, PEPCO has targeted 1850 MW in 2008 through energy conservation initiatives, loss reduction, theft control and load management. A comprehensive energy conservation campaign has already been launched to save 1000 MW," the sources pointed out.

After the bifurcation of WAPDA, Manawar Baseer is taking various initiatives to make Pakistan an energy-sufficient country and has developed short term and medium-term plans to overcome energy crisis, the sources claimed.

According to Republic of Tajikistan Ambassador Saidbeg Saidov, Tajikistan would start exporting inexpensive electricity to Pakistan and Iran within two to three years immediately after completion of its mega hydropower projects which were under construction and process. The construction of the two huge hydropower stations like Santoda-1 and Santoda-2 was under process and Tajikistan was arranging consortium with the participation of Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Qatar, etcetera for the construction of another big hydropower station like Pakistani Tarbela dam-Raguon hydropower stations.

In an interview, Saidov said Tajikistan was already constructing a high-power electricity transmission line from Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan with the financial support of World Bank, Asian Bank, Islamic Bank and other banks.

He said the under construction international road from Tajikistan capital Dushanbe towards neighbouring countries Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and China would give an opportunity to his country to enter Pakistan and reach Gwadar Port as well as opportunities of communication with the rest of the world. That road would also help Pakistan to get additional boost in terms of trade, he said.