The government has admitted in the Senate that the oil lobby in the country was the main hurdle in the way of replacing costly oil for power producing plants with other alternates of cheap fuel.

The Water and Power Minister concluded the debate in the upper house on an adjournment motion on the recent report of National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra), that this oil lobby in the country does not want to replace the oil with other alternates of fuel like coal to run power producing plants. Rather, power plants are actually selling oil provided by the government instead of using it for the production of power.

Nepra is in the line of fire. They have been accused of using minimum oil of low efficiency and selling the rest in the open market. “There is a big oil lobby in this country where oil of worth 16 billion dollar is imported. They sell the oil and don’t want to replace oil with other fuels”, the Minister has claimed. Clarifying some allegations of the opposition benches, he said that only 0.3 million ‘time of the day’ meters had been installed for out of total 20 million consumers. However, Nepra in its report said that 70 percent of these meters were faulty and this became 1.04 percent of the total meters installed. He admitted that the government used to shut down those power plants that produced costly electricity up to Rs 42 per unit after maintaining the scheduled load shedding.The minister said that the country had 23,000 MW ‘name plate’ capacity of power production, which had de-rated over the years, and now it was 18,000 to 19,000 MW.

This is not surprising at all and explains why we have been so slow to adopt alternative forms of energy. The government claims that it is ready to hold audit of Nandipur Power Project through any government agency like NAB and non-government agency like the UN or Asian Development Bank. However, such sporadic plans will not help, if one doesn’t have a long term concrete plan.

Despite having capacity, K-Electric did not generate the required electricity - it has only invested money on transmission lines in those areas of Karachi where it got more revenue. It will take a revolutionary agenda to actually move away from the deterrent execution of our current energy resources.