Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has stressed the need to formulate a programme for minimizing the load shedding and maximizing the production of electricity during the canals closure.

He was chairing a meeting of Energy Committee here Monday to review the contingency plan for power generation during the canals closure, an annual feature for de-silting of the canals.

During the meeting, situation related to the rise in the electricity demand and the emerging decline in hydel production due to the canals closure in winter season was discussed.

The Prime Minister directed the Energy Committee comprising Finance Minister, Minister for Water and Power, Minister for Petroleum, Governor State Bank and Deputy Chairman Planning to formulate a programme for minimizing the load shedding and maximizing the production of electricity during the canals closure.

It was decided in the meeting to take the steps with regard to utilization of existing thermal generation capacity with focus on more efficient plants to reduce the cost of production and consequently to reduce the burden on the consumers.

It was also decided to adopt efficient load management to ensure load-shedding which was necessary and its schedule may be managed in way so that the consumers can have predictability and are not impacted adversely by unannounced load-shedding.

In the meeting it was approved to take steps to ensure timely fuel supply to the power plants so that electricity production remains operational according to this plan for January.

The Prime Minister was also briefed by the Minister for Finance on the debt swap being undertaken for the power sector entities to deal with the circular debt issue.

The Prime Minister also directed the government power sector companies to make additional efforts to recover the receivable to help address the circular debt issue.

The meeting was attended by Dr. Abdul  Hafeez Shaikh, Minister for Finance, Syed Naveed Qamar, Minister for Water and Power, Secretaries Ministries of Water and Power, Finance and Petroleum, senior officials of the Ministries of Water and Power and Finance.