Government increases electricity import from Iran for Gwadar

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has increased electricity import from Iran to 100 megawatts from earlier 70MW to feed Gwadar and is also planning to increase the import to 1000MW, as Islamabad is in negotiations with Tehran in this respect.

Since December 2016, the import of electricity from Iran has been increased from 70 MW to 100MW, which is being provided to Gwadar, chief executive officer (CEO) of Quetta Electric Supply Company (Qesco) told a Senate standing committee here. The CEO further said that work on 300 MWs IPP power plant is also underway in Gwadar.

Islamabad is facing difficulties in making agreements with Iranian banks due to international sanctions on Tehran. The government has again started negotiations with the Iranian government and after the removal of sanctions, Pakistan will import more power from Iran as it is willing to export up to 3000MW to Pakistan.

However, a senior official said that there is also disagreement on electricity tariff between the two countries. Around 15 years back in 2002, Pakistan and Iran made a first agreement for import of 34MW electricity, then jacked it up to 74MW and now again it has been increased to more than 100MW.

The Senate Standing Committee on Water and Power met here with Senator Sardar Yaqoob Khan Nasar in the chair. The Ministry of Water and Power informed the committee that the areas where the losses are high and recovery is low, the government has reduced power supply to them. Senator Taj Haider asked the ministry, “You should take legal action against them instead of teasing the poor consumers.”

The ministry official said they have lodged various FIRs against defaulters and also sent cases to the NAB where defaulters have to pay over Rs100,000. The committee was told that the government has disconnected power supply to Golarchi in Sindh for the last more than a year.

Senator Taj Haider said that if some of them are defaulters, then why the whole area is being punished. “It is a very strange justice that you disconnect power supply of 54 rupees defaulter while not taking action against those who have been defaulting for Rs0.2 million. If you need help of the Sindh government we will support and help you,” he said.

Additional Secretary Ministry of Water and Power Omar Rasool said the government has been taking very serious action against the defaulters and officials who are involved in helping the thieves.

“In Hazara Division, we have terminated the services of two executive engineers (XENs) and four sub divisional officers (SDOs), he said. “In last two years, we have even cut the incentives of employees involved in theft as facilitators and also cut their salaries of one month,” he added. The additional secretary told the committee that if there are 0.7 million connections in Sukkur Electric Power Company (Sepco) then 0.3 million are illegal connections.

Nauman Wazir Khattak said even in Islamabad, there are Kundas and power theft. He said all companies should be given their own force for recovery and magistrate. The CEO of Qesco briefed the committee on progress on the establishing new grid stations. He said that in 2015-16, two new grid stations were set up.

“Of 18 grid stations, 13 have been expanded. Upgradation of six other grid stations will be completed in next three months besides increasing the number of transformers and upgrading their capacities.

Senator Ahmad Hassan said a year ago 87 employees were expelled from Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) while 2,000 post are lying vacant, but no new induction has been made. The additional secretary replied that the expulsion of 87 was made because they were illegally inducted.