LAHORE – The Chairman of Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts & Accessories Manufacturers (PAAPAM) and the Business Forum of Punjab (BFP), Syed Nabeel Hashmi, while taking a strong exception to severe power outages and overbilling, has suggested the centre to hand over power distribution as well as management system to provinces which, according to him, is the best possible solution to rid the country of prevailing energy crisis.

After the 18th Amendment, though the provinces have the authority to generate power, yet it is of no use since the electricity produced first goes to national grid system and then it is supplied to consumers through power distribution companies, he said.

In a statement issued here on Saturday, he said that the Federal govt, which presently controlled the load management as well as power distribution system, continued to penalize those consumers, who pay their bills regularly, by imposing fuel adjustment surcharge (FAS).

In view of enhancing revenue and checking power theft, he opined that load management and distribution structure must not be with the centre, advising the authorities to allocate electricity load to each province as per the payment, besides distributing power at local levels.

He asked the government to devise such a scheme which ensured steady supply for those who pay their bills regularly. This step by the government would discourage the culture of power theft and non-payment of bills, besides enhancing revenue to get rid of the circular debt, which had enslaved the whole energy system in the country.

He urged the government to allocate funds in the forthcoming budget for new power projects and construction of new dams to generate cheap and sufficient electricity.

The PAAPAM chairman warned the government of massive layoffs and industrial closures if it failed to immediately stop 10 to 12 hours power outages in industrial areas.

He hailed Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif for raising voice against inequitable load management and supporting the cause of common man. He urged the government to share its future energy plan with industrial bodies because the highest-ever electricity tariff and more than 12 hours power outages have crippled trade and industry.

He said that the industry needed a continuous supply of electricity to keep the units operational and to complete the export orders well within the given timeframe but only because of the shortage of electricity the exports were not up to the mark.

PAAPAM Vice Chairman Munir K. Bana said that Pakistan had already lost a number of international markets and the now the prolonged power cuts would further aggravate the situation. He said that cheaper and uninterrupted power supply was the only way to achieve economic targets set for the year 2012 but neither the government was sharing its future plans to this regard nor paying any heed to the difficulties being faced by the trade and industry.

Mr Bana said that unemployment, price-hikes and industrial closures always give birth to lawlessness and anarchy. Therefore, the government should understand the ground realities and reset its priorities regarding provision of electricity to the industry, he stated.

He said that it is astonishing that on the one hand the government circles were talking of economic stability in 2012 while on the other hand they were not sharing any kind of roadmap to achieve this goal.

Now the leading industrial units were experiencing losses despite being managed professionally, he said. He added that the most of industrial units had already reduced their working to single six-hour shift from the previous three shifts system. This had led to increased level of raw-material wastage leaving production process non-profitable.