Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan on Monday informed the National Assembly Standing Committee on Power that the government would save around Rs147 billion during a period of three years after it streamlined matters related to the LNG usage in electricity generation.
“Initially, it was mandatory to consume 100% LNG in some power generation plants on the basis of take or pay, which was brought down to 66 percent after the officials concerned showed some resistance. Recently, we have ended this condition due to which there is a saving of around Rs 147 billion over a period of three years,” he said.
Committee Chairman Chaudhry Salik Hussain commended the government for taking this initiative and saving the public money.
The previous government of PML-N had added into the power generation capacity without taking into consideration its pros and cons and started importing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and linked its consumption in some power generation plants.
“These are the distortions in the market, which we are now going to open,” the minister said.
Omar Ayub said the power sector was the biggest medium of transferring subsidies to consumers but there was a harsh reality that 50 percent circular debt amount was due to the unbudgeted subsidies.
He stressed the need for giving budgeted subsidies to the consumers.
Holding debate on “The Pakistan Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (No. XXV of 2019),” the minister said his ministry was doing his level best to control theft of electricity in far flung areas of the country in a systematic manner.
Omar Ayub said anti-theft drive was going on for the past two years and the bill was aimed at authorizing grade-17 and above officers to take cognizance of the offence.
The minister stressed that the provincial governments should also play their part in curbing the theft of electricity.
The chairman praised the intent of the bill but deferred it for the next meeting on request of the committee members.
On another bill titled “The regulation of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Power (Amendment) Bill, 2020”, the committee showed reservations on the procedure of tariff determination and National Electric Power Regulatory Authority was asked to give the procedure in writing.
The minister told the committee that unbudgeted subsidies in the circular debt were the major concern of the present government, which needed to be addressed through a uniform tariff strategy.
Among others, the meeting was attended by Members National Assembly Sher Akbar Khan, Saif Ur Rehman, Lal Chand, Engineer Sabir Hussain Kaim Khani, Saira Bano, Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada, Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah, Shazia Marri, besides the Secretary Ministry of Power Division, Chairman NEPRA and senior officers of the relevant departments.