LAHORE - Water and power state minister Abid Sher Ali has claimed to boost up power generation at 20,000MW by the end of 2016.

Addressing a press conference at Wapda house on Saturday, he added the government increased the electricity transmission capacity by 2,800MW i.e. from 13,500MW to 16,300MW.

“Water and power ministry stretched 1500km-long new transmission and up-graded many grid stations.” He also claimed that low-voltage and loadshedding problems will end after two and half year.

The issue of over-billing, he added, will be overcome with new mechanism of printing meter-reading picture on the bill. He informed that the Sindh government was defaulter of Rs 69 billion, HESCO (Hyderabad) and SEPCO (Sukkur) Rs 70 billion, PESCO (Peshawar) Rs 90 billion, QESCO (Quetta) Rs 148 billion, AJK Rs 48 billion and FATA Rs 49 billion. The ministry was making special efforts to speed up the recovery process, he said.

“Electricity theft is at peak in Pesco as its 600 feeders are running in loss and 110 of them are making up to 85 percent losses. The situation is same in QESCO limits. DISCOs in Punjab (Lahore, Faisalabad, Gujranwala and Multan) and Islamabad’s (IESCO) are making combined losses of only 14 percent,” he held. He said the matter would be taken with KP and Balochistan CMs. At the same time, he thanked KP Chief Minister for provision of land for construction of a grid station at Chakdara.

To a question that if the government was privatizing the DISCOs, he said the issue belonged to the Privatization Commission and Ministry of Water and Power had nothing to do with it.

APP adds: To another question, Abid Sher said efforts were also being put in place to improve recoveries besides giving incentive package and “we will go to every level for this purpose.” Abid Sher said electricity worth billions of rupees was being stolen across Pakistan. He thanked the Balochistan chief minister for his efforts in improving security situation. He also thanked the KPK Chief Minister for provision of land for construction of a grid station at Chakdara, KPK.

He clarified that a few days back, the power-break down was not because of load-shedding but of load-management and non-construction of the Chakdara grid station was one of the main factors of that power outage.

To another question, the minister said power crisis was a national issue which should not politicized through provincialism, asserting that all the distribution companies are being provided electricity as per their set quota and despite all difficulties, the government is providing electricity also to K-Electric to ensure relief and ease to the people of Karachi.

He said former rulers made hollow claims of increased generation capacity but there was nothing on ground as the relevant contracts were then giving to companies having no experience or operations in the energy sectors.