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Govt may opt for rental power plants

Govt may opt for rental power plants




HAMID WALEED

LAHORE: The government may opt for rental power plants to overcome power load shedding in case it found difficult to fulfill the promise of uninterrupted 24/7 power supply in 2018, said sources.

The power sector sources, especially those from the Independent Power Producers (IPPs), claimed that the option of generating electricity through rental power plants cannot be ruled out in 2018 to overcome loadshedding.

They said it is impossible to ensure zero loadshedding until 2020 with the present pace of putting in place new power plants.

The rental power plants had earned repute among masses during the last government of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). The Supreme Court had eventually scrapped all deals on March 30, 2012 after declaring them illegal, non-transparent and invalid, and ordered that advance payments made to nine RPPs along with interest be recovered from them.

It may also be noted that the Turkish firm Karkay Karadeniz Electrik, which had invested $350 million in its world’s biggest ship-mounted rental power plant, could not produce the agreed 232 megawatt power because of non-availability of gas, was first allowed to leave the Pakistani waters for home after paying Rs1.65 billion under an agreement with National Accountability Bureau in the same year.

Interestingly, the Pakistan PML-N government had earlier re-branded the RPPs as short-term Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in 2015 and the Economic Coordination Committee decided to revive three RPPs including the Gulf Power Plant with a capacity of 70MW, Reshma Power Plant with a capacity of 90MW and Techno Power Plant with a capacity of 100MW. It was also decided in the said meeting that the new arrangement with the RPPs will be based on the “take-and-pay” basis whereby there will be no obligation on the government of Pakistan for payment of capacity or any other charges.

Meanwhile, a few experts close to the government have also hinted at printing of additional money to pay back circular debt worth Rs480 billion to the Independent Power Producers in early 2018 to win the public impression that the government has overcome load shedding as it had pledged in 2013. They said the government may opt for this move in early part of 2018 to ensure uninterrupted power supply during next summers, leading to the holding of general elections in the month of September.



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