ISLAMABAD (App) - Expressing concern over continuing power crisis, which is crippling industry and causing misery to the people, the senate standing committee on water and power on Monday directed the ministry of water and power to accelerate the efforts for finding a viable solution to the problem. The committee, which met under the chairmanship of Senator Hafiz Abdul Malik Qadri, called for tapping the country's full potential in alternative energy sources like solar, wind, bio-fuels apart from nuclear and conventional hydel and thermal. It also called for expediting the Thar coal project, which has tremendous potential, besides expeditiously completing the Kurram Tungi, Gomal Zam and Sheikh Munda Dam projects. The senate body also instructed wapda and the ministry of water and power to urgently address issues like unusually high line losses, faulty meters and continuous free of cost electricity supply to Wapda employees. Members of the committee urged that complaints regarding fast-running meters be looked into seriously, besides putting off all ornamental lights at the premises of parliament house and other government buildings. Earlier, Minister for Water & Power, Raja Pervez Ashraf in his presentation said the government was fully alive to issue. The government, he said, had inherited these crises and was struggling to overcome them. "It would take some time, but we have the will and potential to wriggle out of it in reasonable time." "We know that power and energy are the most essential pre-requisites for development, but the situation has become compounded in our case due to certain peculiar conditions, for instance the issue of circular debt which stands at a colossal Rs. 400 billion". He said:"this year too, we would be providing a subsidy of rs. 65 billion to keep the electricity flowing to lifeline consumers". He said "the government owes a staggering amount of rs. 158 billion to IPPs, which has to be paid and we have arranged rs. 75 billion in emergency to pay off nearly 59% liabilities of the IPPs." He said the power tariff was being determined by Nepra after averaging the production costs of 8 companies. Previously, it recommended 61% increase in power rates, however, the government allowed only 31%. "this alone goes to show that how serious we are not to overburden the common man particularly the lifeline consumers." Pervez Ashraf said the number of lifeline consumers presently stood at 3.5 million and the government was determined not to make their life miserable. The minister said "with about 4500 mw additional units to be brought into the main grid by December 2009 through commissioning the rental units, the situation would ease out further". He expressed the confidence that there would be no loadshedding after December 31st this year. The government has opened international competitive bidding in case of Thar Coal and established the thar coal energy board. The meeting was attended among others by Senators Muhammad Amjad Abbas, Agha Pari Gul Saleem Saifullah Khan, Bibi Yasmeen Shah, Syed Muhammad Hussain, Abdul Razak A. Thahim, Raza Muhammad Raza, Dr. Javaid Laghari and Sardar Muhammad Jamal Khan Leghari. Chairman Wapda, Chairman Pepco, Chairman Nepra and senior government officials were also present on the occasion.