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Govt announces competitive bidding for power generation

Lahore : The government on Wednesday announced to award contracts for power generation through renewable energy resources under a transparent competitive bidding process, ending upfront tariff policies.

“Competitive bidding for award of generating 400 megawatt wind electricity and 600 MW solar power will be held after a period of eight weeks,” Minister for Power Awais Leghari said. He made this announcement while addressing a news conference here along with Minister of State Chaudhry Abid Sher Ali.

He said the new policy a major step towards achieving autarky in the energy sector. “It (competitive bidding) will have great impact to meet future energy needs of the country at affordable price.”

The minister said now Pakistan had surplus electricity due to effective policies of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government, and the ministry was confident to maintain the pace of increasing power generation even in peak summer season. “Pakistan has entered a new era where it has surplus electricity and it does not need to award contract on upfront tariff basis. We have to produce inexpensive electricity to facilitate consumers, for which power generation through renewable energy resources like wind, solar, bio-gas and small hydel plants will be carried under an open competitive bidding process,” he said.

Earlier, he said, power generation companies were given a specific profit for the power generation, but now investors would be invited for the competitive bidding to get the lowest rates and pass on maximum benefit to consumers.

Leghari expressed confidence that the PML-N government would succeed in materializing the dream of providing inexpensive electricity to the consumers.

He said the government was working on a strategy to provide inexpensive power generation units in all the provinces keeping in view their demand and population. The minister said the government would introduce more such programmes in the coming months, vowing to get the country’s energy sector included in the list of world’s most advanced sectors.

Answering a question, Leghari said there was no electricity load-shedding in any part of the country, except the areas of high line loses. He categorically rejected the impression of prolonged load-shedding in some parts of the country, saying that uninterrupted power was being supplied to areas where the line loses were less than 10 percent.

He said the Power Division was losing some Rs 135 billion on account of line losses mainly due to pilferage.

The minister said he had written letters to the provincial chief ministers to devise a strategy in collaboration with departments concerned involving law enforcement agencies for preventing power theft in their respective areas.

 “We are also looking into possibilities to form teams or outsource the programme to prevent power theft in some localities in consultation with the provincial governments,” he said.

He said 126 feeders in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were running on 85 percent loss. Setting up feeders in Chakdarra, Mardan, Malakand and Swat to end low voltage complaints were to be completed in 18 months, but the KP government, did not play its role in timely acquisition of land, which had caused delay. However, the projects would be completed in six months by the federal government, he added.

Replying to another question, the minister said the Power Division was going to introduce a computerized system under which every consumer could get details of his meter and electricity consumption to avoid over-billing.

To another query about circular debt, he said the government was in process  of making payments to independent power producers and hopefully the entire debt would be cleared soon.

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