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Electricity import from Iran up by 42%

Electricity import from Iran up by 42%

TEHRAN: Pakistan has increased the import of electricity from Iran by 42 percent and will further enhance it after the remaining international sanctions on the neighbouring country are lifted. Since December 2016, the import of electricity from Iran has increased from 70MW to 100MW, which is being supplied to Gawadar, the chief executive officer of the Quetta Electric Supply Company (QESCO) told a Senate Standing Committee here. The Senate Standing Committee on Water and Power met here on Monday with Senator Sardar Yaqoob Khan Nasar in the chair. The committee was informed that around 43 percent of connections in the Sukkur Electric Power Company (SEPCO) service area were illegal. About the criteria for carrying out loadshedding, the Ministry of Water and Power informed the committee that the areas where the losses were high and recovery was low, the government had reduced the power supply. Senator Taj Haider said that authorities should take legal action against those responsible for the losses instead of punishing the poor consumers. Official of the Ministry said that they had lodged various FIRs against defaulters and sent the cases of defaulters of more than Rs100,000 to NAB. It was also revealed that the government had disconnected power supply to Golarchi in Sindh for more than a year now. Official of the ministry told the committee that the area people were defaulter of around Rs4.5 million and they were not ready to pay their dues.

Senator Taj Haider said that if some of them were defaulters, the entire area should not be punished. “It is strange that you disconnect power supply to a Rs54 defaulter, but you are reluctant to take action against those who have been defaulting on Rs200,000. If you need the help of the Sindh government, we will support and help you,” Taj Haider said. Senator Atta-ur-Rehman said, “You are calling forces against illegal connections and defaulters, but what about the officials involved in power theft.” Additional Secretary for the Ministry of Water and Power Omar Rasool said the government had been taking serious action against defaulters and officials helping the power thieves. In Hazara Division, services of two executive engineers and four sub-divisional officers (SDO) were terminated, he added. “In the last two years, we have even cut incentives of the employees involved in theft and cut their salaries,” Omer Rasool said. “If, for example, there are 0.7 million connections under Sukkur Electric Power Company (SEPCO), 0.3 million are illegal,” he added.

Nauman Wazir Khattak said that even in Islamabad power was being pilfered. All companies should be given their own force for recovery and magistrate. CEO of the Quetta Electric Supply Company (QESCO) briefed the committee about progress on the new grid stations and said that in 2015-16 two new grid stations were set up. Of 18 grid stations, 13 have been expanded. Up gradation of six other grid stations will be completed in next three months. The number of transformers is being increased and they are being upgraded. The committee was informed that for Gawadar 100 MWs of electricity was being imported from Iran since December 2016. Senator Taj Haider said that Iran was ready to supply 1,000MW electricity. The CEO said that work on 300MW IPP power plant was under way. Islamabad is facing difficulty in making agreements with Iranian banks due to international sanctions on the country. The government has again stated that negotiations with the Iranian government will continue and more power will be imported from Iran after removal of sanctions. Senator Ahmad Hasasan Khan said that a year ago 87 employees were sent home from Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) while 2,000 posts were lying vacant, but no new induction had been made.

The additional secretary said that 87 employees were removed from IESCO because they were illegally inducted. “We will soon start work on induction of people on 2000 vacant posts in IESCO,” he said. Senator Nisar Muhammad Khan said that despite 97 percent of recovery from Malakand, people of the area were facing 14-hour loadshedding. After the 18th amendment, there was no mechanism for transmission. The transmission system is very old and overloaded, he remarked. The additional secretary said that in Malakand Division work on the system upgrade had been started.