Omar Ayub vows to control circular debt, reduce power tariff

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan on Wednesday reiterated Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s resolve to curtail power sector circular debt and provide affordable electricity to end consumers.

The energy minister said that renewable and solar energy projects initiated by the previous governments had a per unit cost of around 12.5 to 13 cents, while the projects, initiated by the PTI government, have brought down the per unit cost considerably.

“We have brought down the per unit cost of electricity, which is being produced through renewable energy and solar resources, from 12.5 cents to 3.75 cents during the last two years,” he said while sharing the two-year performance of the PTI government at a news conference. Other members of the Federal Cabinet were also present at the conference.

He said that electricity rates in the country will decrease further after alternative and solar energy projects are awarded through open and competitive bidding under the new Alternative Energy Policy.

The minister said that the Alternative Energy Policy recently approved by the Council of Common Interests (CCI) will lead to the production of 75 per cent of the country’s electricity through indigenous resources by 2030. “Currently, almost 70 per cent of the energy-mix needs are met through costly imported fuel. We need to utilise indigenous energy resources instead,” he said.

The energy minister said that in line with the new policy, Pakistan would bring in technology and start production of renewable energy equipment like solar panels, wind turbines and blades.

“Through the transfer of this technology, Pakistan will not only become self-sufficient in production of renewable energy equipment but will also be able to export them to Central Asian and African countries,” he said.

He said that the government had saved a Rs200 billion penalty in the Karkey case through an out-of-court settlement with special efforts of Prime Minister Imran Khan and assistance of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

He said that the Power Division has revised the agreements with Independent Power Producers (IPPs) which would help curtail circular debt and electricity tariffs.

Omar Ayub said that work on four new hydel power projects including Diamer-Bhasha, Mohmand, Kohala and Karot is being carried which will lead to the production of 6,500 Megawatts (MW) to 7,000 MW of electricity.

He further said that work on 15 wind power projects, having an accumulated capacity of 800 MW, is also in progress.

The minister said that the government has significantly improved the transmission system by removing 15 major constraints on 500kV and 220kV lines, which is helping transmit an additional 4,500 MW of electricity to consumers across the country.

He said that the present government has added 2,800 kilometers additional transmission lines during the last two years.

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