Circular debt stands at Rs402b

Zahid Chaudhary

The country’s circular debt stands at Rs 402.14 billion, of which outstanding payments for electricity are Rs 237 billion. The circular debt also includes outstanding amount of Rs 22 billion against Karachi Electric.
The information was shared by the Ministry of Water and Power with the Public Accounts Committee chaired by Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah.
Soon after assuming office, the present government had paid off Rs480 billion in outstanding dues in a bid to check load shedding. Other major heads in the circular debt include outstanding payments for gas, which stand at Rs11 billion, and oil arrears, which stand at Rs 99 billion.
The PAC was told that the country is currently producing electricity at an average Rs 8.52 per unit and selling it to consumers at Rs11.97 per unit.
According to the ministry, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) has allowed power generation companies to charge for line losses to the tune of 15.3 per cent, but actual losses stand at 17.9pc.
It was further revealed that transmission losses have stacked up to over Rs135 billion over the past four years.
Separately, transmission losses from solar energy stack up to Rs135 billion while losses worth Rs182 billion are attributable to unrecoverable bills, the ministry informed the PAC.
The committee was also informed that Karachi electric’s 650 megawatt agreement with the Water and Power ministry had ended, but the ministry continues to provide electricity to the company.
The PAC was told that the ministry needs to collect Rs 62 billion in subsidies and other costs and the finance ministry has been directed to clear its dues. Officials of the ministry further said if the dues are cleared, it will be able to pay independent power producers and Pakistan State Oil’s dues. Khursheed Shah pointed out that citizens also wanted to move towards solar energy and asked if there was a subsidy on that form of energy. Junaid Anwar Chaudhary recalled the government had started a reverse metering project two years ago, but people were not being allowed to avail that facility any more.
He added that a number of people want to create and sell energy from solar panels but the government has not encouraged them to do so. Officials of the water and power ministry said that the matter has been brought to their notice and they will look into it.

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