ISLAMABAD - On the directive of President Asif Ali Zardari, Finance Ministry on Friday released an amount of Rs 7.5 billion to overcome power shortage of 4500 megawatts in the country. A meeting on energy crisis, held at Aiwan-e-Sadr on Friday, ruled out gas loadshedding for the domestic consumers in the country to meet power shortage and decided a number of short-term and long-term measures to end the power shortfall in the country. Sherry Rehman, Minister for Information; Raja Pervez Ashraf, Minister for Water and Power; Shaukat Tarin, Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance; Dr Asim Hussain, Advisor to PM on Petroleum and representative of WAPDA, public sector corporations, including OGDC, IRSA and KESC, attended the meeting and briefed the President on energy situation. After the meeting, Pervez Ashraf in a Press conference said that the meeting was summoned on the President's directive to discuss the shortage of petrol, gas and electricity at various parts of the country. He said that at present the country had 6,500 megawatts of electricity from all sources as against the national demand of 11,000 megawatts. The major reason behind this shortfall is the decrease in water flow, slump in oil and gas supplies, needed for thermal generation, he said. The water inflow is at a historic low as it is 36 per cent less than the flow during the corresponding period of the last year, causing a huge drop in hydro generation, he said. The decrease in fuel supplies only has caused a shortfall of 2,700 megawatts, he added. The minister further said that in January last year there was a shortfall of 3,600 megawatts, which has now aggravated to 4,500 megawatts. He also told the media that the meeting decided to provide 50 million metric cubic feet of additional gas and 8,000 tons of fuel oil to KESC to increase its power generation capacity. This will lift the burden from WAPDA, which will thus be able to inject several hundred megawatts in the national grid supplies to KESC. Ashraf said that these measures would result in an immediate improvement in the power supply situation, at least in the short term. The minister further informed that the President advised the government to convene another smaller meeting this week for making plans for a long-term solution to the problem. Ashraf also informed that a number of Chinese companies are interested in investing in the energy sector and the government is planning to start small projects for hydel power generation in the country. He further added that the government is more interested in hydel power generation as it is cheaper if compared to thermal or other sources of power generation. According to the minister, the President has also advised the government to arrange a special meeting on energy this to address the issue of circular debt in the power sector and recommend ways to address it. He said that the government was planning to pay off the total circular debt within six months. The minister further said that the present government inherited the energy crisis from the previous regime. He said that previous government did not add even a single unit to the existing production capacity. He also pointed out that nearly 160 billion rupees of debt was left unpaid by the previous government, which it owed to the power producers and oil companies. Agencies add: Raja Ashraf said the government has no magic wand to solve present power crisis in a flash, maintaining that loadshedding will come to end by the end of December 2009. He expressed these views after talking to Chief Minister Balochistan Nawab Aslam Raisani and later in a chat with host of journalists on Friday. Replying to a question, he said that in the current circumstances, masses must keep a cool head and not lose their patience. "We are trying our level best to solve loadshedding crisis at the earliest," he said, adding that masses cooperation with administration was must as we don't have a magic wand to end crisis immediately. Around 2,000 MW electricity will be sustained within month which would ease power position, he said, expressing the hope that loadshedding would decrease in coming days. Replying to a question, Ashraf said Iran is also helping us to cater our electricity needs. He further added that one more month, people of Pakistan would have to face the brunt of loadshedding. He apologised to the nation over the electricity outages.