Electricity availability improves, claims govt

ISLAMABAD – The government has claimed improved electricity availability as Pakistan has resumed the supply of Afghan coal to 1320MW Sahiwal power plant and hydle generation from Tarbella has increased by 2500MW.
Addressing a press conference here, Minister for Power Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan has however said that 969MW Neelum Jhelum Power Plant is offline due to emergence of technical fault at tunnel. The cause of the fault was being investigated and all out efforts would be made to remove the faults and bring it online as soon as possible, the minister added. On the issue of base power tariff increase by Rs 7.91/unit, the minister said that they have informed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that it is sensitive matter and it cannot be increased without the formal approval of the federal cabinet. However, he said that the issue will be resolved within the ongoing month. On the supply of coal from Afghanistan, the minister said there was also positive development in import of coal from Afghanistan disclosing that Pakistan Railways has supplied three trains of coal to Sahiwal power plant.
He said that it is business to business arrangement and an agreement was signed between Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and Afghan coal suppliers. The government of Pakistan and Afghanistan were only facilitators to the agreement, he explained. In a reply to a query regarding the increasing of price of coal by Taliban regime from $90/tonne to $200/tonne, the minister said that there was no such increase in the prices of coal, however he acknowledged that the Afghan government has increased the export duty on coal. Khurram Dastagir said a Pakistani delegation would visit Kabul after Eid to finalize coal imports modalities and they were trying to start coal supply operation from Afghanistan round-the-clock. The delegation will also raise the issue of hike in export duties with Afghan authorities, he added. However, he said that it is still cheaper than the other imported coal. In reply to another query, Khurram Dastagir said that payment for coal import with Afghanistan would be made in Pakistani rupees. The minister announced that Chinese HUBCO Coal Power Plant has also started negotiation for the procurement of Afghan coal and soon they would also be run on imported coal from Afghanistan.
The minister said that water inflow in Tarbela dam witnessed significant increase during the previous five days and it has started optimal generation of 3,864 MW. On July 1, 2022, the generation from Tarbella dam was 1125MW, it means that almost 2500MW was added to the system. The refueling of K2 nuclear power plant was underway and it would start supplying 1100MW electricity to the national grid before the Eid which would further help reduce loadshedding in the country.
The minister said there was an average electricity shortfall of 4000 to 5000 MW but the demand of electricity has also reduced owing to improvement in weather. He claimed that the people will witness improvement in electricity supply and considerable decrease in load shedding during the Eid days. The minister said that although the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) determined rebasing tariff but Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) has proposed that tariff would be increased in three phases. However, he said that the federal cabinet has not yet approved it, adding that the government discussed the issue with its allied parties. The minister said that the Power Division has been directed that tariff would not be increased for lifeline consumers and massive subsidy would be given to them. In reply to a query, the minister has acknowledge the anticipatory approval of the Prime Minister for the base tariff increase however, it was done for submitting the ECC decision of base tariff increase in phases after the Nepra approval.
Khurram Dastagir said that Punjab government has also announced provision of free electricity to the consumers using upto 100 units, adding that other provinces should follow the Punjab footsteps in this regard. The minister said that the government would add another 5000 MW to the national grid system during the current fiscal year. These were all those projects which were started by past PML-N govt led by Nawaz Sharif.

| Pakistan resumes supply of Afghan coal to 1320MW power plant, hydle generation from Tarbella increases by 2500MW | Payment for coal import with Afghanistan will be made in Pakistani rupees

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