Payments released for adding 6,020MW


Payments released for adding 6,020MW ISLAMABAD: The government is making expedited full payments to the power projects to deliver about 6,020 megawatts of additional power generation capacity to the national grid by December to announce zero loadshedding before it goes to polls next year.

The prime minister himself was keeping track of progress on about 25 small-to-large power units that authorities concerned have presented to him with timelines for completion latest by December 2017, a senior official at the PM Office told Dawn.

Mainly because of this reason, the government has released almost full amounts allocated for the power sector in the current year budget and the prime minister had made it clear to all agencies and ministries concerned to deliver on the promise, the official added.

The government had allocated Rs60 billion for two LNG-based power projects for the current year and entire amount was disbursed to the execution agencies before mid-February. Out of Rs130.4bn allocated for this year, the Planning Commission has already released Rs129.5bn as of May 10, leaving behind only Rs924 million for disbursement before the financial year ends on June 30.

Of the total targeted addition of 6,020MW, the prime minister is pushing for completion of 11 units before the end of June involving 3,242MW generation capacity. These include 760MW from Bhikki LNG project, revival of 335MW of old Guddu Thermal, 800MW from Haveli Bahadur Shah LNG project, 315MW of Chashma Nuclear, and 660MW of Sahiwal Coal plant.

Smaller Patrind Hydropower projects of 147MW, two bagasse-based projects of 41 and 36MW from Layyah Sugar Mills and Al-Moiz Industries are also targeted for completion by end-June. Likewise, a 50MW plant of Sachal Wind Energy and 100MW of United Energy Limited would also come on stream in May and June.

Another 14 units are planned to start power generation in December. However, the 969MW Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower project is not among the list of projects expected to be completed this year, the official said.

The official said two units of 400MW each from Balloki LNG project would come into production in August and September, followed by a REDSIP small hydropower project of 16MW in November. This would be followed by completion of 660MW Sahiwal Coal plant, 400MW each unit of Bhikki, Balloki and Haveli Bahadur Shah and first 660MW unit of Port Qasim Coal project of Saifur Rehman fame in December.

Among hydropower projects expected for completion in December include a 470MW unit of Tarbela 4th Extension and Golen Gol of 35MW besides renewable projects of Shahtaj Sugar, Hamza Sugar, Harrappa Solar and AJ Solar Power of capacities below 30MW each.

The official said the prime minister had made it clear to the respective agencies and their top brass that he wanted to declare an end to loadshedding by December and would not tolerate any slippages.

The official agreed that some of the projects required extensive testing before declaring their commercial operation date (COD) in legal terms before committing completion of trial runs and also in the process test sustainability of the transmission and distribution system before coming up with a fresh deadline to avoid another embarrassment.

He said most of the transmission line projects were foreign funded and the lending agencies had also disbursed their committed funds.

In a recent meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Energy, the prime minister repeatedly told the participants that he was not ready to allow an extension in the deadline for completion of important generation and transmission projects beyond December.

An official, however, explained that loadshedding would continue in some rural areas and “security-wise challenging parts” of the country on ‘high-loss-low-recovery grounds’, even though the government would officially declare no loadshedding for areas were recoveries were in ‘acceptable region’.

Minister for Water and Power Khwaja Asif had recently told the prime minister that a programme for power system constraints resolution was currently in full swing and would be completed by December.


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