Khurram Dastgir Khan while refuting speculations about power tariff hike said that the cabinet had not yet approved an increase in power tariff

Minister for Power Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan while refuting speculations about power tariff hike on Wednesday said that the cabinet had not yet approved an increase in power tariff.

Addressing a press conference here, the minister said although the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) determined rebasing tariff but the matter had not yet been placed before the cabinet.

The matter was discussed in the meeting of Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) and it was proposed that tariff would be increased in three parts, July, August and October. However, the government discussed the issue with its allied parties and they decided that tariff would not be increased for lifeline consumers and massive subsidy would be given to them. He said Punjab government has also announced provision of free electricity to consumers using up to 100 units.

He said water inflow in Tarbela Dam witnessed a significant increase during the last five days and it has started its optimal production of 3,864MW as compared to 1,100MW on July 1. The demand of electricity has also reduced owing to an improvement in weather, he added.

The minister said there was an average electricity shortfall of 4,000 to 5,000 MW while people would witness considerable decrease in power loadshedding during the Eid days. He said refueling of K2 nuclear power plant was underway and it would start supplying 1,100MW electricity to the national grid before Eid, which would further help reduce loadshedding in the country.

Khurram said there was also a positive development in import of coal from Afghanistan and an agreement was signed between private partners and Independent Power Producers (IPPs). Both Pakistani and Afghan governments were only facilitators to the agreement. He said a Pakistani delegation would visit Kabul after Eid to finalise coal import modalities and they are trying to start coal supply operation from Afghanistan round-the-clock.

He said Pakistan Railways has also played an important role in supplying coal to Sahiwal Coal Power plant and three trains loaded with coal have already been arrived in Sahiwal. The minister said that the government would add another 5,000MW to the national grid system during the current fiscal year.

These were all those projects which were started by the past PMLN government led by Nawaz Sharif, he said. Replying to a question, the minister said payment for coal procurement from Afghanistan would be made in Pakistani rupees.

The Chinese HUBCO Power Plant would also be run on coal imported from Afghanistan. To a question, he said currently the Neelum-Jhelum Power Plant has been shut down due to some technical fault and its cause was being determined. All-out efforts would be made to remove the faults as soon as possible, he said.