Loadshedding to continue for next 2-3 months: minister

Khalid Mustafa
Sunday, May 29, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The ongoing loadshedding will continue to haunt the masses for the next 2-3 months till the fiscal constraints of the government are done away with, Federal Minister for Power Division Khurram Dastgir Khan says this while talking to The News.

“We have made all the power plants operational, which were non-functional for lack of maintenance and fuel in the wake of no decision making and bad governance by the ex-PTI government.”

However, the minister disclosed that the incumbent government is now facing fiscal constraints that have virtually forced the Power Division to scale down import of fuel for power generation. He argued that unless and until the inflows of dollars are improved, it is not possible for the government to make power plants fully operational to end the ongoing power outages. “No doubt, we are equipped with the capacity to end the power outages, but fiscal constraints have emerged as an obstacle in the way of import of fuel required to run the power plants at their full capacity.”

The minister said that once the government succeeds to restore the $6 billion IMF program, dollars inflows into the country from International Financial Institutions (IFIs) such as the World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and friendly countries like Saudi Arabia, China and the UAE will increase manifold, enabling the government to freely purchase fuel for power generation to do away with loadshedding. He said that the cost of LNG, furnace oil and coal has also skyrocketed in the international market. “And keeping in view the foreign exchange reserves situation, it is not possible to import fuel at the optimum level.”

“The government will keep passing loadshedding on the power-end consumers at a bearable level unless the foreign exchange reserves are improved to a satisfactory level.”

However, the minister maintained that the government is currently focusing on running the most efficient plants in the country to reduce loadshedding, which include four RLNG based power plants. "The fourth RLNG based power plant at Trimmu is also being provided gas for testing purposes. Right now, 800mmcfd RLNG is being provided to the power sector for power generation.”

The minister claimed that as of today, the areas from where recovery is 80 percent are facing zero loadshedding, but those areas from where the recovery losses are high are facing massive loadshedding. The government sources say that the power shortages stand up to 3-4 hours in the main urban centers of Punjab, but in rural areas 6-7 hours. However, the southern Punjab, interior Sindh, KPK and Balochistan are facing power outages up to 10-12 hours. The government argues that the said areas are loss making ones, so the consumers living there are facing maximum loadshedding as revenue based loadshedding is being implemented.