PM’s called meeting fails to give relief to power consumers

Caretaker prime minister directs to present concrete plan in next 48 hours rationalizing the power tariff.

ISLAMABAD: An emergency meeting ended at the PM House in Islamabad with caretaker Prime Minister Anwarul Haq Kakar in the chair to discuss the matter of inflated electricity bills. However, there was no concrete outcome. 

The Ministry of Energy (Power Division) officials briefed the premier on the electricity tariffs. However, a decision to give relief to the consumers could not be taken. Information minister Murtaza Solangi stated that the details of the meeting would be issued in a press release soon. 

The caretaker prime minister directed the officials to present a concrete plan in next 48 hours rationalizing the power tariff. He said such measures should be taken which will not put burden on the national exchequer and provide “convenience to the consumers”. He also directed that power sector reforms and short, medium and long-term plans should be presented at the earliest.

The prime minister also directed the relevant ministries to provide complete details of the officers and institutions enjoying the free electricity. It was also decided during the meeting that detailed consultation on the issue of excess in bills of July and implementation of energy saving measures will be discussed with the provincial chief ministers tomorrow [Monday].

On the other hand, protests continued in different parts of the country against the inflated bills issued to the consumers by distribution companies. 

In Karachi, MQM-P Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, in a presser earlier today, expressed fears that the protests could turn into riots.

“It is the responsibility of the government to take immediate relief measures,” he said, speaking about the problems of power consumers in Karachi and Hyderabad.

“The pressure of circular debt is not on the owners of K-Electric, but on the consumers. Around 12 to 14 hours of loadshedding is being done in Hyderabad and the city’s traders are being forced to protest,” he added.

Protests were also held in Multan and Lahore’s Shahdara on Sunday against the exorbitant power bills. Residents and traders in Multan’s Alfalah Market took to the streets to protest against the electricity bills as they held banners and set tyres on fire, hence blocking roads.

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