Monopoly in power sector

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THE government and the opposition in the Senate Monday passed a rare unanimous resolution for abolition of monopoly in the power sector and evolving a mechanism to help generate and provide low-cost electricity to consumers.

The resolution, moved by PPP Senator Taj Haider, said the government should allow public-private partnership and the private sector to install their own solar, wind or local coal-based power plants in the country with minimum 30 megawatt electricity generation capacity and sell electricity to domestic, commercial and industrial consumers directly on a pre-determined tariff formula through their own transmission and distribution grids.

Though the resolution is non-binding, it needs serious consideration of the authorities concerned in the backdrop of problems facing the power sector and the resultant sufferings of the consumers.

The resolution as well as suggestions emanating from the lively debate in the Upper House offers a way out of the existing messy situation.

Apart from generation of electricity through costly fuels, the highly centralized transmission and distribution system is at the heart of the colossal line losses and thefts and its cost is recovered from honest consumers.

It is because of the wrong policies of the past and discontinuation of prudent policies of one government by the other that today’s power tariff has become un-sustainable for the majority of consumers, badly affecting family budgets, agricultural and industrial production, commercial activities and exports.

The proposal to install small power plants along with separate transmission and distribution networks has the potential to ensure provision of uninterrupted electricity to consumers at affordable rates, provided preference is given to establishment of solar parks across the country to meet local needs.

Based on recommendations of the Senate, the government should initiate a comprehensive study to give practical shape to the idea in the shortest possible time.

 

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