Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has ordered authorities to reopen the closed power plants to ease the electricity crisis that has resulted in upto 16 hours of outages in some parts of the country, a media report said on Monday.
Chairing a meeting on Sunday on the existing power situation in the country, Sharif also sought an explanation from the authorities for the prolonged spells of electricity outages, The Express Tribune newspaper reported.
Pakistan has plunged into a crippling electricity crisis that is mostly attributed to mismanagement, inefficiencies, power theft and politically-motivated appointments in the power utilities, it said.
The power shortfall has reached 7,787 MW, because of which electricity outages of up to 16 hours are being carried out in different parts of the country.
The report said the power generation in the country was 21,213 MW, while the total demand was 29,000 MW.
A total of 5,430 MW of electricity is being generated from hydro sources and 1,705 MW from government thermal plants while the total output of private sector power plants is 10,241 MW, the report said.
"During the meeting the Prime Minister asked the authorities to explain why there is a power outage of upto 16 hours in some parts of the country. He has ordered authorities to reopen the closed power plants in the country to ease the electricity crisis," the report said.
In April, Sharif was informed by the authorities that 18 power plants in the country were not functioning for the last one year because of closed units or technical defaults.
Some of them includes Port Qasim, Guddu, Muzaffargarh, Kot Addu Power Company and Jamshoro.
The meeting was attended by Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal and State Minister for Petroleum Musadik Malik in person while the Energy Minister Khurram Dastagir took part in the meeting through a video conferencing.
Prime Minister Sharif directed the authorities to submit to him a report on power outages immediately in which the reasons for them should be clarified.
Sharif had recently announced the import of coal from Afghanistan. But it would require huge funding – a weekly allocation of almost USD 25 million. In addition the government requires USD 51.5 million for debt servicing of imported coal power plants.
(With PTI inputs)