PM wants loadshedding cut to only two hours

Muhammad Anis & Munawar Hasan
Sunday, Jun 05, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Irked by prolonged outages, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Saturday warned the top officials of the power ministry that they would be dismissed from service if the duration of loadshedding exceeded two hours a day.

The PM had convened an emergency meeting to deliberate on reasons behind the power outages across the country and the measures taken to overcome the problem. Ministers and top officials of the Power Division concerned attended the huddle.

PM Shehbaz Sharif reprimanded the ministers and officials concerned over the ongoing prolonged loadshedding amid the sweltering weather in the country. The power officials faced the prime minister’s anger when they told him that only two hours of loadshedding was being observed in the country.

“Over 10 hours of loadshedding is being carried out on a daily basis across the country. I am not ready to buy your lies,” replied the prime minister. “Loadshedding for more than two hours is not acceptable. Do whatever you want,” PM Shehbaz directed the officials.

Rejecting the explanations, the prime minister directed the ministers and officials to help people get rid of the trouble. “People need relief from loadshedding,” the PM said, adding that there would be no compromise on it. He directed the ministers and officials concerned to make short-, mid- and long-term plans to overcome the problem of power shortage once and for all.

The PM sought an emergency plan for reduction in electricity loadshedding within 24 hours. Minister for Information and Broadcasting said in a statement that the PM directed a committee comprising ministers for Energy, Petroleum and Finance to present a practicable plan. The PM asked the committee to ensure gradual reduction in loadshedding. The ministers and officials apprised the PM of overall energy situation and hurdles in meeting electricity shortages for domestic and industrial consumers.

"There should be a balance in supply of electricity to domestic and industrial consumers,” the information minister quoted the premier as having said, and added that the plan should be implemented in a way that consumers see an improvement in electricity supply.

Meanwhile, in line with the current austerity drive of the coalition government, cuts in electricity, gas and telephone bills of cabinet members and government officials have also been proposed, and a ban on renovation in all ministries has also been proposed under the government’s austerity drive. Media reports also suggest that a complete ban is also expected on purchase of new vehicles for all ministries.

On the other hand, according to official power shortfall data recorded at 4pm on June 4, 2022, deficit in electricity demand and supply soared to massive 7,235MW on weekend. Out of the total shortfall power distribution companies facing 4,650MW supply side constraints while 2,585MW of outages being carried out in high loss feeders.

Sources confirmed that with officially recorded shortfall in excess of 7,200MW, real gap in demand and supply had surged to 8,000MW for the first time as breakdowns and planned suspension on account of rehabilitation work also caused over 1,000MW of lesser supply in the national grid.