ISLAMABAD - The caretaker government is trying to arrange funds for thermal power generation to reduce unscheduled power loadshedding during upcoming election campaign months of April and May and elections.

The government’s plan is ostensibly an attempt to avoid rage of masses in terms of protest demonstrations due to expected power outages in scorching heat season right in the mid of upcoming general election-2013. It is common phenomenon in Pakistan that enraged people take to the streets against prolonged and unannounced loadshedding during summer season (May-August) every year.

Sources informed that government is reportedly working on a plan to increase the power generation in April and May by ensuring furnace oil supply to the power plants to minimise the power outages in the country during election time to avoid masses protest. The government would need Rs 110 billion under the said plan to control the expected massive scheduled and unscheduled loadshedding for which major funding would come from finance ministry under subsidy and remaining funds would come through recovery from private sector defaulters, as directed to the National Accountability Bureau.

Sources further informed that government does not want any furious protest demonstrations in election days against unscheduled loadshedding; which could halt the election process. Therefore, it has started to work to generate additional electricity to overcome the shortage. The country is facing massive scheduled and unscheduled loadshedding of 16 hours in rural areas and 8-12 hours in urban areas in the month of March, which would increase in the upcoming months, as seasonal demands starts increasing.

Thereby reducing the quantum of loadshedding and controlling unscheduled loadshedding more thermal generation needs to be added during April, May and June.

Federal Secretary Water and Power Rao Sikandar briefed the sub-committee of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs the other day that power generation, which currently stands at 8000MW to 9000MW, would be enhanced to 13,000 to 14,000MW in April for which the government has decided to provide 25,000 metric ton oil to thermal plants per day. The Committee was informed that government would not increase the power tariff and would provide more subsidy to ensure power supply to the masses.

The government wants to reduce the circular debt which increased to Rs 425 billion with Rs 142 payable by federal and provincial governments, Rs 100 billion by private sector, Rs 90 billion stuck with Federal Board of Revenue under General Sales Tax and Rs 93 billion under fuel adjustment.  The ministry of water and power has already given detailed list of private sector defaulters to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to recover Rs 100 billion throughout the country. Funding for plan to reduce power outages in election time would come through recovery from private sector defaulters.