ISLAMABAD - The Ministry of Energy has Tuesday acknowledged that outdated transmission and grid system is a major cause for power breakdowns which is beyond their control as the up-gradation of the system required $ 40 to 50 billion.

The Senate Standing Committee on Power which met here with Senator Fida Muhammad in the chair showed serious concern regarding the power crisis that has engulfed the urban and rural areas of Pakistan during Ramazan.

The meeting was attended by Senator Ahmed Khan, Senator Muhammad Akram, Senator Moula Bux Chandio, Senator Sirajul Haq and senior officers of the Ministry of Power Division.

"There is surplus electricity in the system but due to outdated transmission, the electricity cannot be supplied to the consumers fearing that the load may melt the transmission lines," said Musadiq A Khan, Joint Secretary Power Division, who is MD Pepco, while briefing the committee.

He said that the Discos are resorting to forced load shedding due to the outdated transmission system. The Pepco MD further said that the division required $40 to 50 billion for the up-gradation of the grid stations. Musadiq briefed the committee on the state of the energy sector in Pakistan especially in terms of the ensuing power crisis during the holy monthof Ramazan.

He said that there is zero load shedding policy during Sehr and Iftar timings and there will be no load shedding for any consumer category.

He also shared details of the total number of feeders and load-shedding duration in the country.

Affirming that govt's policy precisely states that there shall be no load-shedding during Sehr and Iftar timings, he said that outdated modes of electricity transmission are a major cause for power breakdowns, which was beyond the control of the energy sector. Khan claimed that power generation due to CPEC Power Projects is more than sufficient with a surplus of 2400 MW. However, issues arise in terms of Discos that are helpless due to lack of infrastructure.

He termed public-private partnerships imperative to any progress within the sector and asserted that unless measures were taken to upgrade transmission units and systems there was no possibility of respite to consumers.

Senator Moula Bux Chandio shared his concerns regarding the installation of transformers in different areas of interior Sindh. He was of the view that people are forced to pay exorbitant rates for this device which is unacceptable.  He said that instead of decreasing loadshedding there is increased loadshedding in Sindh during Ramazan.

Asserting that Pakistan is an agrarian economy, Senator Ahmed Khan said that loadshedding has adversely affected agriculture in lower Balochistan that borders the Iran and Afghanistan.

He maintained that measures must be taken to revive agricultural sector in this region.

The committee chairman recommended that loadshedding during Sehri and Iftar timings must be completely curbed.

He also summoned CEO Lakhra Power Plant and CEO Genco to brief the committee in the next meeting. The committee was informed that 18885 MW electricity available in the system while the demand is 18806 MW.

The distribution companies are getting 16376 MW electricity, MD Pepco informed the meeting.

He said that industrial feeders are using 2048 MW, Domestic 5777 MW, 5797 MW is being used on urban feeders while 5956 MW is being used on rural feeders.

Regarding the power supply to Qesco, MD Pepco informed that 1250 MW electricity is being allocated to the company but it's taking only 744 MW and the remaining 506 MW is surplus.