ISLAMABAD  -   Federal Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan on Friday announced to bring down the circular debt to zero by December 2020 and the recruitment of 10,000 people in Discos immediately.

Unveiling the plan of terminating Rs 450 billion circular debt in a Press conference here, Power Minister Omar Ayub Khan said that currently it is Rs 38 billion per month that would be reduced to Rs 26 billion in June 2019 and Rs 8 billion in June 2020.

There would be zero circular debt by December end 2020, the Minister stated.

“The previous government has left a recieveable of Rs 490 billion, we will collect Rs 200 billion from those defaulters and Rs 100 billion from those involved in power theft till next June,” he said. Power losses have been reduced by 1.8 per cent, he added. 

The government will allocate Rs 230 billion subsidy in budget to protect the consumers using upto 300 units per month from an increase in electricity rates following IMF bailout, he said.

Power Minister Omar Ayub Khan said that the government would give Rs 230 billion subsidy in budget to power consumers.

He said that National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) had asked to increase electricity rate by Rs 3.84 per unit but PTI government raised Rs 1.27 per unit.

He said that the government had protected domestic consumers using 300 per month who account for 75 per cent of total consumers.

He added that 95 per cent commercial consumers had also been protected. ‘The same policy will continue after availing IMF bailout package and government would give Rs 230 billion subsidy in budget, the Minister said.

About increase in electricity rates about consumers falling in other categories, he said that Nepra will determine the tariff.

He claimed that that there was zero loadshedding on 80 per cent feeders in the country.

He said that government had collected Rs 81 billion from power sector defaulters during last eight months.

In Tesco, consumers had been receiving electricity for four hours, he said. Now, electricity is being supplied to them for 10 and half hours and there is no loadshedding at time of Iftar and Sehri, he added.

The minister said credit did not go to PML-N government for ending power loadshedding in the country as the past government left behind unpaid circular debt. He said that past governments had no will to bring improvement in power sector. He said that PML-N government had passed on Rs 650 billion circular debt to PTI government which included Rs 450 billion built during last year of PML-N tenure to win elections.  He said that PML-N government started giving electricity to loss making feeders to win election that resulted in Rs 450 billion circular debt.

He also appealed to the masses to join hands in this Jehad launched against power theft on 1500 feeders that account for 20 per cent feeders by indentifying power theft.

At present, power sector is dependent on 60 per cent imported fuel, he said. He announced to increase share of electricity from local resources to 70 per cent in 2030.

He said that current share of renewable energy in total mix was 4 per cent that would be increased to 20 per cent in 2025 and 30 per cent in 2030.

He said that share of nuclear energy would be increased to 10 per cent. This would help reduce foreign exchange, he said.

He also said that government was going to introduce new meters that would also be installed at transformers as well to address power theft.

The supply of electricity to any consumer involved in power theft would be suspended by pushing one button, he said, adding, that IESCO had floated tenders and Gepco was also going to invite bids to procure such meters.

He said that 30,000 FIRs had been registered against those involved in power theft.

No defaulters would be allowed to walk away and even connections of Presidency and Prime Minister House would be disconnected over defaulting bills, he added.

He said that government had also launched crackdown on the mafia involved in power theft.

He said that power distribution companies had shortage of staff for patrolling.  He said that 9000 to 10000 appointments would be made on merit in power distribution companies Discos. He further said that government had planned to split the power companies. 

He further said that government would allow Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to find out their own clients which contracts were being expired.  He said that the government would not be bound to take electricity from them.

Replying to a query about offshore drilling, he said that the government would continue efforts to drill more offshore wells in the country.