As the load shedding crisis has crippled the daily routine life all over the country, the top managers of the government-owned generation companies (GENCOs) will meet in Islamabad today (Thursday) to discuss the situation, a source informed MinuteMirror.
“Key decisions will be made in the meeting for the final approval of the prime minister and the federal cabinet,” the official source said.
The five GENCOs make a major contribution to the national grid but two power plants (Guddu-II and Haveli) are closed due to recent fire incidents and some are shut for annual maintenance and overhauling. Besides the two, K-Electric-owned Bin Qasim and WAPDA-owned Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project are also closed due to damages that occurred in July and August. The situation made some 2,500 megawatts of cheap electricity out of the system, besides the already existing gap of 7,000MW between national demand and supply.
The government cannot afford to run costly power plants in case of the long delays in the maintenance of out-of-order plants due to the issue of rising circular debt. The electricity tariff is already beyond public reach, trigging countrywide protests against the government.
Thursday’s brainstorming, said the source, will be held to bring the power plants generating cheap electricity back into the system as soon as possible.
A meeting of the board of directors of the GENCO Holding Company (the united platform of five GENCOs) will be held after it. Another meeting is expected under the chair of the prime minister by Sunday following the initial decisions made by the BoD, as per the sources.
As the government is considering outsourcing some of the key plants, the meeting of GENCO officials is also expected to forward suggestions for approval of the federal cabinet. It will be held days after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif made a phone call to the President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, welcoming the investment of the Gulf country in Pakistan’s energy sector.
“Yes! The UAE has shown interest in holding control of some power plants. Qatar and Saudi Arabia are also willing to invest in the energy sector of Pakistan,” said the source, insisting the decisions in this regard did not fall under the domain of the GENCOs.
“They will only forward suggestions to make operational the power plants in full capacity and estimate their required time period and funds for the purpose.”
Meanwhile, the urban and rural areas of the country are under the grip of 12-hour average load shedding. The 10 distribution companies are facing a more than 50 per cent shortfall in demand and supply due to a 10,000MW shortfall. The demand is hovering around 26,000MW and the generation is less than 15,000MW, as per official sources.