ISLAMABAD- National Assembly was informed Wednesday that a National Power System Expansion Plan has been prepared envisaging elimination of load-shedding by 2017-18.

National Assembly resumed its session with Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi in the Chair. Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali told the house during question-hour that the plan also envisages establishment of coal, hydel, gas, solar and wind based power projects to reduce the cost of generation.

He said there was 18-hour long load-shedding when the present government took over, but presently urban areas are facing 6-7 hours and rural areas 8-9 hours of load-shedding daily, due to various steps including addition of 1800 MW to the national grid last year. He said another 1,500 to 2,000 MW would be added to the system by May this year.

To another question, Abid Sher Ali said a policy has been formulated to get electricity without capacity payment and other obligations or guarantees. Under the policy, tariff for payments to the Short Term IPP is recommended only on the "Take and Pay" basis and there will be no obligation or Government guarantees. Arrangement of fuel would also be made responsibility of the power producer.

Replying to a question, the minister of state for water and power said steps are being taken to permanently eliminate the circular debt.