ISLAMABAD  - The government is following a multi-pronged policy to address the power sector issues by using indigenous coal, imported coal, hydro and R-LNG for power generation. This was said by Minister for Water and Power, Khawaja Asif while presiding over 103rd meeting of Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) held here Wednesday.

He said the investors are being facilitated to meet their commercial operation dates by end of 2017 and early 2018. The government is arranging power for future needs at affordable rates instead of expensive electricity, he added. Managing Director PPIB, Shah Jahan Mirza briefed the Board on current status of various Coal and Hydropower projects being handled by PPIB.

The Board advised PPIB to further expedite the projects vis a vis removing bottlenecks hampering timely completion of projects. It was informed that construction of 102 MW Gulpur Hydropower project has started, 1320 MW Port Qasim Coal project has achieved Financial close and its first unit will start generation by December 2017.

Similarly, 1320 MW Coal project at Sahiwal by Huaneng Shandong Ruyi of China is already under construction and scheduled to achieve Commercial Operation Date in December 2017, while 660 MW Engro Powergen Local Thar Coal based power project has signed Financing Documents last month and expecting Financial Closing in few weeks. It was also informed that 147 MW Patrind Hydropower project would achieve its Commercial Operation Date by March 2017 as the construction activities are in full swing. The PPIB chief also briefed about the 1000 MW small projects based on R-LNG in the country which are targeted to start production during first quarter of 2017, and for this purpose PPIB has been directed by the Government to implement these projects in IPP mode through International Competitive Bidding (ICB) in a transparent manner asking bidders for discount on NEPRA's upfront tariff for RLNG projects.

Different ongoing private power generation projects particularly the projects being under taken under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) were discussed in the meeting.

Power projects are sharing major portion of CPEC with billions of dollars, hence their timely completion assumes further importance.

The Minister and Board members expressed their satisfaction on the progress of ongoing projects being handled by PPIB and assured fullest support to PPIB in sharing Government's resolve of eliminating load shedding through affordable means.