ISLAMABAD – Non-provision of funds by Finance Ministry to Ministry of Water and Power for payment to Independent Power Producers (IPPs) is causing 12 to 14 hours loadshedding in the country even in the winter season, sources shared with TheNation.

Sources said the Water and Power Ministry had demanded Rs 35 billion from Finance Ministry for payment to IPPs to maintain power supply in canal de-silting season but the latter did not provide the same to the former.

Reliable sources told TheNation that Water and Power Ministry, a month back, had informed the Finance Ministry that due to canal de-silting programme hydel power would come down, with a request to provide Rs 35 billion for payment to IPPs so that they could generate maximum power.

The sources said that hydel power, at present, had come down to 500-600 megawatt and IPPs were also not generating energy to their full capacity due to payment issues. Resultantly, the power shortfall was touching 5,000 megawatt mark even in the winter season causing 12-14 hours loadshedding across the country. The Finance Ministry was clearly told that late provision of funds could cause immense problems to the masses but it turned a deaf ear to repeated demands of Water and Power Ministry, sources said.

The sources said that on Friday Finance Ministry released Rs 10 billion which was a wrong time for payment. As Saturday and Sunday were off days the payment to IPPs was possible on Monday and till then there could be no change in the situation. However, sources said, the amount was insufficient to eliminate loadshedding altogether, though decreasing power cuts to some extent.

It is pertinent to mention here that canal de-silting is a regular process that is done every year and for the purpose water release from the dams has to be stopped bringing the hydel power generation to almost zero.

It also merits mentioning here that present hydel resources are primarily meant to serve agricultural sector of the country and water is released on demands of the provinces for irrigation purpose. So government has to rely on other power generation resources.

The sources also said that the government in its four years tenure didn’t do anything for the power sector. It should have focused on building run-of-the-river dams which could be helpful in providing cheap and sustainable power to masses.