Amid depleting gas reserves in the country, Caretaker Power Minister Muhammad Ali has said that under the load management plan gas will be provided to the consumers for eight hours only.

“[Gas] loadshedding has been taking place for the last few years. The loadshedding will occur this year as well because we don’t have enough gas to supply it for 24 hours,” the interim minister said while addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Wednesday.

Like last year, the minister said the loadshedding plan was being devised to ensure a gas supply for eight hours. He said the natural gas reserves have further depleted by 18 % compared to the last year.

Power Minister Ali also expressed hope that the issue of gas shortage for industry in December will be resolved to a greater extent as two liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes have been finalised.

The minister said despite various constraints, all-out efforts were being made to ensure the availability of gas to domestic, industrial and fertilizer sectors with minimum gas load management in the coming winter season.

“We have only two LNG terminals and limited natural gas but today we have finalised two LNG cargoes for December, which would help address the gas supply issues in December for the industry. The gas supply was also being improved for the fertilizer sector, he added.

Speaking about ongoing crackdown on power thieves, the minister said an amount of Rs16 billion had been collected from electricity defaulters so far during the ongoing crackdown, which would further continue.

He said it had been decided to change the board of directors (BoDs) of all the power distribution companies (DISCOs).

The management of DISCOs would be handed over to the private sector on long-term concession, he added.

Earlier this week, The News reported that the Petroleum Division was in the process of giving the final touches to a summary to increase the gas tariff, which will be tabled in the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) meeting for approval

After ratification by the federal cabinet, the government will notify the new gas prices not from July 1, 2023 but from the date the cabinet approves the new tariff, top officials at the energy ministry had told The News.

“The top functionaries of the Petroleum Division have so far planned not to spare even the protected residential consumers just to ensure a zero increase in monthly flow to the circular debt in the gas sector. The protected consumers falling in the first four slabs, utilising gas up to 0.25 HM3, 0.5 HM3, 0.6HM3 and 0.9hm3 may face an increase from Rs300 to less than Rs500 per MMBtu.”

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