ISLAMABAD - The cash-strapped government has further injected Rs10billion into the power sector to offset ongoing energy shortfall that has hit hard domestic and commercial electricity consumers alike.

According to a top official of the Finance Ministry, a sum of Rs10billion has been released to the power sector which took the overall subsidy to roughly around Rs298billion within ten months (July to April) of the ongoing fiscal year 2012-2013.

Last Friday, the caretaker government took a decision to funnel Rs45billion to increase power generation to 3,500 megawatt ahead of general elections on May 11.

As per the government plan, in the first phase, the Finance Ministry has released Rs10billion while the remaining Rs35billion will be disbursed in the month of May.

Fifteen hundred megawatts of electricity will immediately come into the national grid and another 1,200 MW in the next 15 days which would help offset the current shortfall by 75 per cent. At present the power crisis ranges between 4000 and 4500 megawatts.

The government had claimed that through measures being taken electricity loadshedding would come down by three hours in a day, from Monday onwards. On the other hand, the Ministry of Water and Power assesses that the shortfall may go to 6000 to 7000 MW in peak summer season this year.

Sources said the government had no other option in short run than to provide subsidy to the power sector in order to reduce unscheduled power outages. The government has revised the volume of power subsidy twice in ten months of the ongoing fiscal year.

Economic experts are of the view that power subsidy would reach to Rs300billion at the end of the ongoing financial year.

It is may be mentioned here that the caretaker government has decided to not increase power tariff. "Available option with the caretaker government was either to pass on full generation cost to consumers by raising electricity tariff or provide subsidy.

Decision to increase tariff is a political decision, which must be left on the next elected government", said Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance, Dr Shahid Amjad Chaudhry, the other day in a press briefing.