New energy policy: Power crises to end by 2017

ISLAMABAD: After a long wait, finally the federal government has formulated the National Energy Policy 2013-18, which will be presented to the Council of Common Interests for approval on Tuesday.

According to the policy, power sector subsidy will be phased out by 2018 and loadshedding will be ended by 2017. It aims at generating surplus electricity in 2018, privatizing government-owned power plants and a few power distributing companies (Discos), bringing the double digit cost of power generation to a single digit, restructuring the water and power ministry, National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra), Oil and gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra), adjustment of outstanding dues owed by public and private organisations through federal adjusters and formation of regional transmission and power trading system.

The policy has been prepared by the Ministry of Water and Power to support the current and future energy needs of the country. It comprises seven points envisions a profitable, bankable and investment-friendly power sector which meets the nation’s needs and boosts its economy in a sustainable and affordable manner while adhering to the most efficient generation, transmission and distribution standards.

According to the policy, the power sector is currently facing a number of challenges — a yawning gap between supply and demand which far outstrips the current generation capacity (up to 4500-5000MW), highly expensive generation of electricity (Rs12 per unit) because of increased dependence on expensive thermal fuel sources (44 per cent of total generation), an inefficient power transmission and distribution system which currently records 25-28pc losses because of poor infrastructure, mismanagement and theft of electricity.