Planning Minister reviews power sector’s progress

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Caretaker Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Muhammad Sami Saeed on Tuesday chaired a meeting to review the progress of the power sector of the ministry. The Chief Energy Section gave a detailed briefing on current statistics, prevalent policies and new initiatives of the power sector, a news release said.

The Power Section of the Planning Ministry is assigned the tasks of technical appraisal of the Power Sector’s development projects to be considered by the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) and Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC). The Power Section is also involved in planning, policy-formulation process and furnishes comments on CCI, Cabinet, ECC summaries and other reports/intergovernmental agreements. The minister was also briefed about the prevalent policies in the power sector. In this regard, National Electricity Policy, 2021 was approved in June 2021 by the Council of Common Interests (CCI) which laid down six principles for the growth of the power sector including Efficiency, Transparency, Competition, Financial Viability, Indigenization and Environmental Responsibility. To meet policy goals, principles and underlying directives in the respective areas as provided in the National Electricity Policy, an objective-oriented National Electricity (NE) Plan has recently been approved by the CCoE in August 2023. The NE Plan envisaged 20 priority areas of intervention including Integrated Energy Planning, System & Market Operations, Electrification, Tariff Design and Subsidy Rationalization. Among the new initiatives being undertaken in the Power Sector, the Competitive Trading Bilateral Contract Market (CTBCM), Indicative Generation Capacity Expansion Plan (IGCEP) and Transmission System Expansion Plan (TSEP) are the notable ones that will shift the electricity market from a single-buyer market to bilateral competitive market. It will help bring healthy competition in the power market and introduce the concept of integrated planning. Furthermore, the Energy Wing also proposed additional steps which include integrated energy planning of generation, transmission and distribution sectors, investment in the transmission and distribution sector, legislation for acquisition of land and Right of Way (RoW), technological interventions to curb theft and increase recoveries of DISCOs and management outsourcing of DISCOs. The minister emphasized that the issues of circular debt, T&D losses, and improvement in the recoveries of outstanding dues of DISCOs should be addressed on a war-footing basis by Power Sector entities so that the sector could work on a sustainable basis for the provision of reliable, affordable and clean energy to the masses. He also appreciated the Power Section for its excellent work carried out for nudging the power sector of the country in the right direction through its efforts in planning policy-making and appraisal of development projects.