ISLAMABAD - Differences between federal government and Sindh government have complicated the mounting circular debt issue, resulting in escalating gap between power supply and demand.

According to National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC), the country Tuesday faced power shortfall of 2000MW as demand remained 11000MW against supply of 9000MW. Total power generation was recorded at 9000MW wherein hydel share was 3350MW, thermal 1180MW and IPPs 447MW.

Earlier, PML-N government had cleared Rs480 billion circular debt with tall claims that power sector debt would never be let to raise again. And, to arrest re-emergence of circular debt, the government budgeted Rs 220 billion subsidy for the current fiscal year 2013-14 besides re-activating the institution of Federal Adjuster in consultation with provinces, which was expected to ease the situation.

However, federal government’s attempt to decrease loadshedding by clearing circular debt has so far not bore fruits as country is facing 12-14 hours long power cuts. Even, a committee, headed by federal power minister, has so far failed to convince Sindh government to resolve the matter of outstanding power dues for good.

Official sources on the condition of anonymity told The Nation that difference between central and Sindh governments is still unresolved. Even, not a single penny on account of power dues has so far been deducted at source through already re-activated institution of federal adjuster. They also said that widening gap between power generation cost and recoveries from consumers was also contributing to the debt besides heavy power losses of Discos ranging around 30 to 40 per cent against approved 16 per cent. Low recoveries are also because of skyrocketing power tariff, they added.

Sources in power corridors also told this scribe that issue of mounting circular debt would be discussed in detail and concerns of Sindh government would also be addressed in next meeting of Council of Common Interests, which will be held under PM Nawaz Sharif in near future. They further said, except Sindh, rest of three provinces have expressed their willingness to fifty per cent at source deduction of the power dues through federal adjuster.

A senior official at Water & Power Ministry said that the power sector’s receivables from private consumers and federal and provincial governments as well as Karachi Electricity Supply Company had reached Rs 491 billion. The receivables against private sector stood at Rs 326 billion, federal and provincial governments Rs 125 billion and KESC Rs 41 billion, he added.

A senior official at finance ministry said that the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) are found unable to make payment to fuel suppliers, resulting in operation of their plants at reduce capacity.

Reportedly, severe power outages have worsened the routine life of countrymen already bearing heavy brunt of hours long power outages and skyrocketing tariff. Remote urban centres were facing up to 12 hours power loadshedding and rural areas up to 14 hours outages.