ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani chaired a meeting of Energy Committee, to review the contingency plan for power generation during the canals closure, an annual feature for desilting of the canals.

During the meeting, situation related to the rise in the electricity demand and the emerging decline in hydel production due to the canals closure in winter season was discussed.

The prime minister directed the Energy Committee comprising ministers of finance, petroleum and water and power; Governor State Bank; and Deputy Chairman Planning to formulate a programme for minimising the loadshedding and maximising the production of electricity during this crunch period.

It was decided in the meeting to take the steps with regard to utilisation of existing thermal generation capacity with focus on more efficient plants to reduce the cost of production and consequently to reduce the burden on the consumers.

It was also decided to adopt efficient load management to ensure loadshedding which was necessary and its schedule may be managed in way so that the consumers can have predictability and are not impacted adversely by unannounced loadshedding.

In the meeting it was approved to take steps to ensure timely fuel supply to the power plants so that electricity production remains operational.

The prime minister was also briefed by the finance minister on the debt swap being undertaken for the power sector entities to deal with the circular debt issue. The PM also directed the government sector power companies to make additional efforts to recover the receivable to help address the circular debt issue.