the government has decided to provide electricity at very cheaper rates for consumers in months of winter to allow higher power consumption.
The period comes amid declining power consumption as ‘peak hours’ in summertime turn into ‘lean hours’ in winter and power companies are unable to utilize the fuel the govt orders for processing power plants. Hence customers have to make capacity payments to the power plants without consuming electricity and gas fuel pipelines face the threat of exploding due to high line-pack pressure. It is a situation similar to the late 1990s when the government promoted higher power consumption in winters as it had additional power available.
Power Secretary Irfan Ali instructed the Senate Standing Committee on Power that the authorities would introduce a uniform flat rate tariff scheme in November by looking at revenue requirements under which grant of more cost-effective power would be provided to the consumers. He further stated the Ministry of Energy (power division) has been working on the scheme and it will be finalized till the end of this month.
Nowadays, the government is making use of two different prices for peak and off-peak hours which increase the end-tariff for customers. For e.g., a normal rate for consumption is around Rs10 per unit, which increases by Rs18 per unit for peak hours (normally 6 pm to 10 pm or 7 pm to 11 pm). In summer people mostly consume electricity in peak hours due to office work and the use of many electrical appliances.
Mr. Ali stated that currently the total circular debt at about Rs1,200 billion and no extra investment to be done in power unless this debt was reduced. We have currently 35,000MW electrical energy capacity available and some more projects have been coming online, however, the power consumption in winter decreased to about 5,000MW.
The Power Secretary informed the Senate committee that there used to be no load-shedding on one hundred feeders of the Sukkur Electric Power Company as there was no theft. He said Ariel Bundle Cables (ABC) had been mounted at some locations to avoid theft and leakage and by December theft would be reduced on a hundred and fifty feeders.
Senator Moula Bakhsh Chandio denounced electricity problems in Hyderabad and said the daylight hours long load shedding is impacting the business. He stated load-shedding had made the lives of the inhabitants of Hyderabad hell. He further said, “Why are you applying Martial Law-like rules in Hyderabad.
The committee was directed by Mr. Ali that enough development had been done on the Solar Panel in Sanjwal, but there had been some issues related to wheeling which required some changing to the Nepra act and was currently under process.
The committee was known that line losses of Pesco had been much higher than the restrictions allowed by way of Nepra. Mr. Ali told these losses were being transferred to customers and they had been paying for it.