PM Shehbaz urges reduction in load-shedding amidst increasing heat

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister (PM) Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday instructed a decrease in power load-shedding across the nation considering the escalating temperatures during the summer period.

The prime minister also demanded the establishment of an efficient and proactive system within the power distribution firms to assist consumers, ensuring the prompt logging of complaints in case of power outages.

The prime minister presided over a session addressing load shedding, the anti-power theft initiative, and reforms in the power sector. Minister for Economic Affairs Ahad Khan Cheema, Minister for Energy Awais Leghari, Minister for Petroleum Dr Musadik Malik, PM’s Coordinator Rana Ahsan Afzal, and senior officials from the relevant ministries attended the meeting, according to a PM Office Media Wing press release.

The prime minister suggested that the acquisition of new transformers align with international standards. Additionally, he advocated for leveraging cutting-edge global systems to implement reforms in the energy sector.

He also instructed the provincial administrations to fully support the anti-power theft initiatives and ensure severe penalties for those involved in electricity theft.

The prime minister also emphatically ordered an end to overbilling practices across the nation.

During the session, PM Shehbaz was informed that by May 30, 134 cases had been recorded and a total of 90 employees were detained.

An update on the restructuring of National Transmission and Dispatch Company and the progress made was provided.

As part of energy sector reforms, a project for metering a total of 124,611 transformers was included in the upcoming development budget. Additionally, with assistance from the Asian Development Bank, one-third of the power consumers of IESCO were being transitioned to smart meters, which would later be expanded to other regions of the country.

A briefing was given on the demand and supply of power and the reasons for load shedding. Areas with better recovery rates were exempt from load shedding, while it was enforced in departments with defaults and regions prone to power theft.

PM Shehbaz was updated on the progress of the anti-power theft drive, which was successfully ongoing with provincial government support.

As of 7 September 2023 to date, 160,004 FIRs had been filed, 79,885 individuals had been apprehended, and 448 employees were suspended, it was further reported.

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