Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif chairs a meeting regarding power sector in Islamabad on April 15, 2024. — PID

ISLAMABAD: In a sigh of relief for the common man, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday directed for drastic measures to reduce the per unit cost of electricity.

Presiding over a high-level review meeting regarding power sector, the premier directed for shifting of coal-run power plants from imported fuel to local coal, besides improvement in the power supply system. He said that in future, only clean, cost effective and renewable power plants should be set up in the country.

The country’s chief executive also asked for proposals for better utilisation of the current surplus power generation capacity in industries.

He observed that wheeling price of electricity should be reduced for the industrial consumers so that power supply at reduced price could be made possible, besides for the industrial development and increase in export, grid stations should be installed near big industries.

The process of auction process of those power plants of Power Generation Companies (GENCOs) that were lying dysfunctional and defective should be accelerated, he further directed.

PM Shehbaz said that the government was taking all measures to reduce price of power per unit for the common man whereas to reduce circular debt, reforms in the power sector were being carried out on priority basis.

The meeting was told that by shifting the coal-run plants from the imported fuel would not only save the precious reserves but also would make it possible to reduce power price by Rs2 per unit for the consumers.

The prime minister directed for swift implementation of all the measures within the stipulated time frame.

PM call for improving power transmission network

Presiding over another meeting, PM Shehbaz called for improving the power transmission network in the country and directed the energy ministry to maximise the utilisation of renewable energy resources to reduce the country’s oil import bill by billions of dollars.

“Ultimately, we have to move to renewable energy. The oil import worth billions of dollars can be controlled by using alternative resources like solar, wind and hydel. Make cold calculations and I believe, you will be the winner in the long term,” he remarked addressing a meeting he chaired to review the power sector’s performance.

The prime minister said utilising renewable energy resources would also ensure riddance from the crude oil tanker mafia acting as parasites and eating up the national money.

He pointed out that the country currently imports oil worth $27 billion to meet its power and transportation needs, a figure that could be significantly reduced by transitioning to alternative energy sources.

Discussing the ongoing drive against power theft, he lauded the performance of the Punjab government and expressed the hope that the other provinces would also follow suit to overcome the challenge.

Prime Minister Shehbaz said that strengthening the country’s power transmission system required utmost efforts and investment otherwise the power production and investments in the sector would go down the drain unless the flaws in the transmission network were removed.

He asked the energy ministry to engage world-class consultants to suggest the government ways forward to boost the country’s power transmission system.

Additionally, the prime minister mentioned the heavy rains affecting parts of the country and expressed condolences for the lives lost.

The PM told the participants that he had asked the chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to coordinate with the provinces and Provincial Disaster Management Authorities to dispatch relief items to the affected areas.

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