ISLAMABAD -  Federal minister for power Awais Leghari has said that the government is planning to review the loadshedding schedule, saying that the government, despite having enough electricity, would not be able to provide it to the consumers in the summer as it cannot allocate Rs 400 billion in budget to cover the losses.

“It seems that we will have to review the loadshedding management plan as the power distribution companies (Discos) haven’t responded responsibly to the zero loadshedding initiative of the government and failed to cut the line losses and instead the losses had increased,” said federal minister for Power Division Awais Leghari while briefing the National Assembly Standing Committee on Energy that met under the chairmanship Ch Bilal Ahmed Virk, MNA.

He said that both consumers and Discos are not acting responsibly and the volume of losses is becoming unbearable for the government. He said the government would have to increase loadshedding in the areas where currently there are less outages to cut down increasing losses. “In the upcoming summer, we will have enough electricity but we will not be able to provide it to the consumers because of line losses and theft,” he said, added: “We cannot allocate Rs 400 billion in budget to cover the losses.”

The Committee, while discussing implementation of its previous recommendations related to Power Division, directed for devising centralized procurement policy for procurement of material for electricity infrastructure development schemes. The Committee was apprised that development schemes, being carried out under PM Sustainable Development Programme, were facing shortage of required material, resulting in delay of their completion due to lengthy procurement procedures and limited number of suppliers of construction material.

The minister said that federal government is providing Rs 24 billion to the tube wells in Balochistan annually while Rs 24 billion is being paid by the provincial government. He said that the recovery of agriculture tube wells is very low and the tube well owners are not paying the agreed bills of Rs 10000 per month. He said that within next two years and PC-I for the conversion of tube well to solar is ready. The minister said that Quetta region is causing Rs 50 billion loss to national exchequer annually.

Awais Leghari blasted the distribution companies, saying that there was no system in place regarding the proposed plan of implementation by the power distribution companies. He said that 80 per cent schemes under Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) programme would be completed during month of April. However, he said that there were some hurdles in implementation of the schemes. He pledged to inform committee about schemes of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1 and 2 in one week time.

Leghari further said that there was no central desk regarding procurement by power distribution companies and said that there were few companies that were providing equipments and other materials to the power distribution companies. He said that power distribution companies had no plan to procure equipment and other materials during the next financial year 2018-19. He said that Power Division would inform committee about details in this regard.

He said that the government had completed 96 per cent schemes under SDGs in first phase and said that all schemes in power sector would be completed in one month time in case all hurdles in implementation are removed. The parliamentarians raised questions regarding incomplete schemes in their constituencies. Leghari asked the members to provide details and pledged to complete schemes. Members committee regretted that power distribution companies had lacked material to complete schemes.

Parliamentary panel also recommended the budgetary proposals relating to Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) of Power Division, Ministry of Energy amounting to Rs.193, 730.550 million for the financial year 2018-19. The Committee, after thorough discussion, recommended the budgetary proposals relating to PSDP of Power Division, Ministry of Energy amounting to Rs193,730.550 million for the financial year 2018-19.

The Committee, while discussing recommendation of the committee regarding enhancement of quota of new domestic gas connections by Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) to meet the pending demand with Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL), directed OGRA to expedite the matter in order to meet the public demand. The chairperson OGRA apprised the Committee that the authority had received petition of SNGPL for enhancement of connections to one million annually, which was under consideration and decision thereon would be taken during a week time.