ISLAMABAD - Taking notice of the excessive loadshedding across the country, caretaker Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso directed the Ministry of Water and Power to take immediate measures to bridge the widening gap between the electricity demand and supply.

The premier gave these directions while chairing a high-level meeting on Monday called to review the power generation plants in the country.

Premier Khoso directed the Petroleum and Natural Resources Ministry to resolve the outstanding dues of various oil companies so that smooth and sufficient fuel supply could be ensured to the thermal power generation plants.

Taking notice of the media reports about the extensive loadshedding, the PM had called the meeting to discuss the overall power situation in the country and to discuss the ways and means to overcome power crisis.

It was decided in the meeting that the Ministry of Finance would immediately inject Rs20 billion to ensure fuel supply to thermal power plants.

The prime minister said that new gas reservoirs be identified for provision of supply of gas to thermal power plants to increase power generation and reduce cost of electricity.

Khoso directed Wapda to start an urgent drive to recover arrears with the help of NAB, KESC and FBR to improve liquidity and overcome circular debt issue.

Ministry of Water and Power Additional Secretary Arshad Mirza informed the prime minister that the immediate cause of increase in loadshedding was disruption of gas supply to Uch Power Plant because of sabotage.

The PM said that all necessary measures should be taken to ensure the security of power transmission lines and power installations. “No installation should be left unattended and a security plan should be submitted spelling out detailed arrangements for their protection.”

The premier was told that load-shedding in urban areas was 10-12 hours whereas in the rural and far-flung areas its duration was up to 18 hours.

Khoso expressed concerns over the present situation, asking the officials to improve it with better management and resource mobilisation.

The PM said: “Though the prime responsibility of his government is to hold general elections, it is also the duty of the government to provide relief to the people and ensure basic necessities like electricity are available to them.” The prime minister asked the Water and Power, Petroleum, Interior and Finance ministries to make short term and medium term plans to minimise loadshedding.

He directed the Water and Power Ministry to ensure the implementation of the plan chalked out by the government and uninterrupted fuel supply to thermal power plants. There should be minimum loadshedding and no unannounced power outage, he added.