ISLAMABAD - The federal government and Sindh on Tuesday agreed on the constitution of a technical committee to figure out the exact amount of dues the province owed to the centre under the head of power bills.

The agreement was reached here at a meeting between Sindh Chief Minsiter Syed Murad Ali Shah with Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif.

Both discussed the key unresolved issues between the centre and Sindh, including power dues owed by the province to the federal government, grid connectivity and loadshedding.

The proposed technical committee, which will include federal government and Sindh representatives, will be constituted not only to ascertain the exact amount to be paid by the province to the centre, but will also determine units of the electricity charged.

“It will also bring a reconciliatory amount to the fore,” an official privy to the meeting told The Nation.

“In total, Rs72 billion worth of electricity bills are outstanding against various departments of the Sindh government,” he further informed.

The source recalled that earlier a reconciliatory amount had been figured out and Sindh had showed its readiness for the payment of Rs25 billion as a first installment, but never fulfilled its promise.

In the meeting, the Sindh CM also raised the issue of providing grid connectivity to the province’s renewable power generation projects of 1000 megawatts.

The provincial government asked the federal government to allow it to invest in the upgradation of the grid and lay transmission lines to make it a reality before next general elections. 

Meanwhile, while briefing the newsmen, the Sindh CM Syed Murad Ali Shah alleged that Sindh was not getting grid connectivity to its renewable energy projects, especially wind power that has the capacity of 800 to 1000 megawatts.

“The National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) had asked for more time to build the grid. Therefore, we want to get permission from the federal government to develop the system from the provincial resources,” Shah added.

“We have requested the Prime Minister to approve upgradation of the grid and laying transmission line from province’s own resources to connect renewable projects to the main grid,” he said, and added, “I have assured the prime minister of generating 800 to 1000 megawatts before the upcoming general elections.”

“As per Prime Minister’ s advice to hold a follow-up meeting on these issues, today’s (Tuesday) meeting was fruitful and the province has been allowed to invest in grid upgradation and connectivity,” the CM said, adding, “If the understanding made in this meeting is implemented, the Sindh government will be able to add this electricity to the grid, as it has already issued various letters of Intents to various companies.”

There are three things to be implemented, including upgradation of grid by the Sindh Transmission and Dispatch Company; determination of tariff by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) and Sindh government’s finalizing Power Purchase agreement by September this year.

When asked about recovery of electricity bills of billions of rupees from Sindh, Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif replied, “We have found the solution to all unresolved issues and if there are some shortcomings, we will remove these in a few days.”

He further said that the main demand of the provincial government was regarding the loadshedding in interior Sindh, “The power supply will be improved in coming days and we will try to rectify it,” he assured.

The federal minister said that loadshedding in the interior Sindh was due to low recovery of dues.

“The Ministry of Water and Power and the government of Sindh have reached an agreement to resolve the issue of outstanding amounts and better recovery in future,” Asif informed.