Islamabad - Caretaker Prime Minister Justice (retd) Nasirul Mulk on Tuesday expressed concern over huge line losses and directed the Ministry of Power to immediately take steps to curtail the losses and improve the overall efficiency.

In his first-ever meeting on the power sector, the interim prime minister said that every effort would be made by the federal government to get the required administrative support from the provincial governments towards addressing enforcement issues in the power sector.

The meeting, held at the Prime Minister’s Office, was attended by the secretary Power Division, managing-director Pakistan Electric Power Company, the managing-director National Transmission and Dispatch Company and other senior officials.

The Power division secretary briefed the caretaker prime minister about the overall outlook of the power sector including generation, transmission and distribution of electricity across the country.

The meeting was told that theft and losses were one of the main reasons that were contributing to the circular debt which was about to touch Rs600 billion.

As per the official figure, currently, the actual losses were 17.9 percent against the target of 15.3 percent, which was costing Rs157.7 billion and adding to the circular debt. Similarly, failing in 100 percent recovery was also adding to the circular debt as against the 100 percent target, the recovery was 94 percent which was adding to another Rs248.3 billion to the circular debt. Similarly, subsidies to Fata, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and industries was adding another Rs98 billion to the circular debt, the meeting was told.

Discussing administrative and technical issues resulting in high system losses and power theft, the caretaker prime minister directed the power ministry to immediately start taking steps for the curtailment of the losses. The interim prime minister further directed that a comprehensive plan should be prepared which would help the next elected government in further improving the efficiency and sustainability of the power sector.

The caretaker prime minister was also briefed about the current as well as anticipated power demand and supply situation. He was informed that as compared to 18,753MW in 2013, the current available generation capacity stood at 28,704MW. It was informed that due to weather conditions and the resultantly reduced water supply, the hydel generation in May remained at 3,090 MW as compared to 6,333 MW in 2015. The meeting was informed that every effort was being made to ensure strict implementation of the load management plan which was approved by the former federal cabinet for the month of Ramazan.