DNA ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders (ICST) on Sunday asked the government to take urgent steps to improve power distribution system in the country, which, it said, if not improved, would continue to pose a threat to the economy.

While lauding the efforts of the government to increase power production, it demanded equal attention to the infirm electricity transmission and distribution (T&D) network.

“The fragile T&D network is hampering provision of available electricity, limiting distribution of energy generated by new and old power plants and may leave plans to import electricity from Iran and Central Asia frustrated,” said Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders (ICST) Patron Shahid Rasheed Butt.

He said that T&D network was mainstay of the power system, but had been ignored for decades which had resulted in the wastage of electricity worth Rs180 billion per annum.

Butt said the government needed to lure local and foreign investors to modernise T&D network, which required increased incentives.

He said that unannounced loadshedding was the direct result of shortcomings in the T&D network for which masses continued to pay the price.

Butt said the transmission policy of 1995 could not attract investors but had been improved through amendments.

“Power production has been improved by 78 percent in the last 12 years while T&D network with over 14,000 km of lines has witnessed a growth of 49 percent only,” he bemoaned.

“NTDC should immediately start upgrading infrastructure lest it compromises ability of coal, LNG, wind, solar and other power projects,” he cautioned.

“T&D network is a major bottleneck in properly linking power projects with national grid and distributing power among consumers which must be improved,” he asserted.