Govt. asked to introduce pre-paid meters for overcoming power sector issues

  • April 25, 2016
Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said that the chronic circular debt issue has badly affected the energy supply to business and industry, multiplied problems of the common man and caused huge losses to the economy and has called upon the government to seriously consider introducing pre-paid meters which was one of the good options to overcome circular debt and energy shortage issues.  
Atif Ikram Sheikh, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that the system of pre-paid meters was an effective way to cope with issues of power sector liabilities and electricity theft. He urged that government should introduce pre-paid meter system that would help in improving power sector cash flows leading to improved power generation and reduced loadshedding. He said advanced countries tackled circular debt issues by using latest technology which automatically terminated the power supply to a unit in case of non-payment of bills, but it was unfortunate that in Pakistan defaulters of billions of rupees enjoyed power supply while trade & industry suffered huge losses due to rising circular debt.
He said one of the major reasons of power sector woes was poor planning in this sector due to which many project projects have faced huge cost-overruns. He said 6600 MW Gadani Park coal-based thermal power project was a good example of this fact. This project was suspended because its planners failed to foresight that handling coal at port and its transportation to the site of power plant required huge investment-intensive infrastructure. He said wind farms in Jhimpir were also struggling for commercial operations due to limitation of transmission system network. Another huge public sector venture, the Neelam-Jhelum hydropower project was facing long delays due to which its cost has gone up many times. Similarly, 780MW Suki Kinari hydropower plant, the largest private sector project was struggling for financial close for the last three years. All this showed lack of proper planning in power sector due to which country was still facing energy deficit, industry was running far below its capacity and trade & exports were also suffering.
Atif Ikram Sheikh stressed that government should introduce good governance and take benefit of latest technology to streamline things in energy sector that would bring multiple benefits to the economy as it would overcome circular debt issue, improve energy supply to industry, enhance production activities, promote trade, improve exports, generate more employment and increase tax revenue of the country.