ISLAMABAD (APP) - Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervez Ashraf on Monday said that reforms plan has been formulated to effectively tackle the critical challenge of enormous power deficit and transforming it into major driver of the countrys economic development process. Addressing the opening ceremony of two days workshop on Power Sector Reforms organized by the Planning Commission, he said the plan was formed by engaging the key stakeholders of the power sector in a focused discourse. He said the workshop would help to heed over roadmap envisaging reforms in power sector. The minister added the government strongly believes in decentralization and with the aim PEPCO have been wounded up. The power distribution companies (DISCOs) are being made fully financially, administratively and technically autonomous in the phased manner, he added. Raja Pervez said a transitional committee has been formed to supervise and facilitate the DISCOs in taking over new functions for time being. As we need a revolution in the power sector, we have declared that on the attainment of stability in the sector, the government will disengage from generation and distribution of electricity in the country and will encourage the private sector participation in these areas. Pervez Ashraf said the Central Power Purchase Agency is being formed and the generation companies are being made autonomous and efficient. He said tariff has the critical factor in resolving the entire value chain of supply of electricity. We have also taken steps to enhance the role of National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) and necessary amendments will be introduced in the Authoritys act. He said to track the resolution of all issues pertaining to power sector reforms and achieving stability in electricity supply, experts from government and private sectors under the auspices of the World Bank, Asian Development and USAID charged with the responsibility of providing a comprehensive policy direction. The committee had a number of marathon meetings for consecutive days and has come up with proposals that seemed best solution for taking power sector out of quagmire. He said the power sector was in doldrums due to negligence by previous regimes. He expressed the hope that soon we would not only be self sufficient in power sector but also have surplus power. Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, representatives of WB and USAID also highlighted problems being faced by the power sector and also suggested comprehensive programme to cope with the crisis and future plans. Later talking to journalists, the minister said that the power sector was suffering Rs.250 billion per year which could not be afforded. The cabinet committee formed by the Prime Minister had reached on the conclusion to make the system efficient and provide better services to the masses. The minister said that power tariff artificially freezed during 2003 to 2007 which caused circular debt of Rs.400 billion. He said certain reasons bound the government to raise power tariff. He said Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (HESCO) was also being divided into two parts to improve the performance of the company. Replying to a question, the Minister said WAPDA has over 150,000 employees and they were availing free electricity of around 25 to 28 MW. To another question, he said task would be given to power distribution companies to control losses, adding, Peshawar Electric Supply Company has also reduced line loses.