* Indian energy managers due in February to ink the deal
* Pakistan signed agreement with an Iranian company to import 5,000 MW of electricity
ISLAMABAD: Energy and trade managers of India would likely to visit Islamabad in mid-February to finalise export of estimated 500MW electricity to Pakistan.
Country has currently been facing treacherous power shortage because of number of reasons including a mismatch between Hydel and Thermal power generation, price hike of Furnace Oil and other fuels sourcing thermal power generation and as well as the severe shortage of natural gas also.
To eliminate the ongoing power crisis since couple of years, federal government had decided to import electricity from the two neighbouring nations India and Iran.
However, Islamabad and Delhi are yet to be reached at any conclusion particularly in respect of electricity trade of 500 MW through Amritsar to Lahore.
The outline of the deal expected to be finalised over the next couple of weeks, and likely to be announced when commerce and industry minister of India, Anand Sharma visits Pakistan in mid-February with a business delegation.
The proposal sent by power and trade managers is awaiting a clearance from the Ministry of Defence before an agreement is inked.
A senior power manager of ministry Water and Power (MoWP) on condition of anonymity informed this scribe that MoWP already submitted note of several concerns in respect of 500MW imported electricity from bordering area of Punjab at both sides.
He said that terms and conditions of import of electricity from India yet to be finalized including the power tariff, volume of imported electricity (not enough 500MW to decline the gap between demand and supply), The points of electricity transmission and some other related concerns.
It should be noted that the import, if materialised, could not resolve the country’s power deficit with the shortfall nearing 4500 megawatts in ongoing winter season and crossed up to 7000MW in peak summer, 500MW is an insufficient quantity in view of national power shortfall. Even if that will be 1,000MW as media reports suggest power deficit will still be large.
Mega dam projects that include much-hyped Diamer Basha dam have an overstretched gestation period, albeit Diamer Basha, once constructed, is expected to add 4,000MW electricity right away. Authorities of both India and Pakistan were decided with mutual consent during the secretary level talks, the part of trade liberalization between both countries in the regard of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status given to India.
The activity of electricity import from India to Pakistan was discussed in commerce secretary level talks, which were held at Delhi in December 2011, and officials of both countries finally decided to trade in electricity through a specially-built high voltage direct from Amritsar to Lahore and now experts from the both sides would thrash out the details, when a delegation from across the border visits Islamabad.
A high-level delegation from Pakistan is set to visit neighbouring India soon to thrash out details of the plan to import electricity likely 500MW on market-based tariff through the Punjab border.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has signed an agreement with an Iranian private company to import 5,000 MW of electricity from Iran. According to the agreement, two power plants will be built near the Iranian city of Zahedan and in Gawadar region of Pakistan.
Installed power generation capacity of the country is recorded up to 21,000 MW, while the demand of electricity in the country has reduced to up to 12,000 MW in the ongoing winter season.
Another major reason for reduction in power generation capacity, particularly by independent power producers (IPPs), which contribute the major chunk of electricity power to the national grid, is non-payment to fuel supplying companies.
On the other hand, gas distribution companies Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd (SNGPL) and Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) are also reluctant to supply natural gas for power generation companies due to severe shortage in the country of up to 1.4 billion cubic feet (BCF).