Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday chaired a high level meeting to discuss the developments and reforms in the energy sector wherein he was apprised the government had targeted to get rid of the power circular debt by December 2020.

The meeting was attended by Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan, Finance Advisor Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, SAPM on Petroleum Nadeem Babar, SAPM on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Spokesperson to PM Nadeem Afzal Chan, SAPM Yousuf Baig Mirza, Secretary Power Irfan Ali and other senior officers, a PM Office statement said.

The prime minister was briefed in detail about reforms in the power sector, remove impediments in power transmission, measures to curb power theft and cope with the issue of circular debt.

It was told that during 2017-18, the circular debt had increased by Rs 450 billion which would be brought down to Rs 293 billion during the current year and Rs 96 billion by 2019-20. However, the circular debt would be completely overcome by end of next year.

The prime minister was told that a 25-year plan for coping demand and supply of the power had been formulated.

Moreover, a fresh policy for power production through alternate energy resources had been formulated.

Under the policy, 20 percent of total electricity would be produced from alternate resources by 2025 which would be enhanced to 30 percent by 2030.

It was told that the ministry’s drive to curb power theft and recovery of dues had brought in positive outcomes. Within four months, the additional power dues worth Rs 48 billion had been recovered that would touch Rs 80 billion mark by year end and Rs 190 billion till June 2020.

The prime minister was told that special focus was being given to handle the losses caused by theft, technical and transmission issues that was coming to fruition.

As a step to curb power theft, 27,000 First Information Reports (FIR) had been registered against those involved while 4,225 people had been arrested including 433 officials of the power sector. Moreover, another 1,467 officials had been charge-sheeted.

During the briefing, it was informed that the production capacity of the power system had been enhanced by 3,000 megawatt through addressing 15 major shortcomings.

It was assured that no power load shedding would be done on 80 percent feeders across the country during the holy month of Ramadan due to improved distribution and transmission system. For rest 20 per cent feeders, a load management plan had been formulated in accordance with the losses and where the ratio of power theft was above 80 per cent. However, it has been ensured to provide uninterrupted power supply during Sehr and Iftar.

While discussing the power tariff, the meeting was told that the previous governments had failed to incorporate the expenses incurred on net hydel profits and different power projects in power traiff that was why the consumers were bearing an additional burden now.

The prime minister was told that the previous governments had announced subsidies for different sectors but had not allocated the required amount in the budget which made the power sector suffer.

Briefing on the petroleum sector, the authorities concerned told that policy for exploration and production was being amended and a shale policy was also on cards, for the first time. Moreover, the exploration and production sectors were being bifurcated.

The prime minister was told that 40 blocks had been identified for exploration and production and international road shows would be conducted to attract the technically-equipped foreign firms so that the oil and gas reserves could be exploited.