August 11, 2008

Pakistan to Import 1,000MW Electricity From Iran

Text of report headlined "Pakistan inks pact with Iran to import 1000MW electricity" published by Pakistani newspaper Daily Times website on 11 August

Islamabad: Pakistan signed an agreement with Iran to import 1,000 megawatts of electricity to overcome the power shortage in the country and Iran would finance the project's completion, a senior official in the Water and Power Ministry told Daily Times on Sunday.

He said that the agreement was inked after negotiations during the 17th session of the Iran-Pakistan Joint Economic Commission (JEC) that was held on June 28-29 in Tehran.

He said that Pakistan also planned to import 100MW for the Gwadar Port and 1,000MW for other parts of the country. He said that Pakistan, the National Engineering Services Pakistan (NESPAK) and a consultant from Iran would hold a joint feasibility study of the project. Pakistan has provided Rs 50 million for the feasibility study and the remaining amount would be provided by Iran.

He said that the government had asked NESPAK to complete the feasibility study of the project, adding that it had already started working on it. The official added that Iran had assured the government of Pakistan regarding the financing for the laying of infrastructure including the transmission line. He said that the transmission line would be linked with Quetta to supply power there.

Pakistan was already importing 40MW electricity daily from Iran at 3.2 cents per unit for Balochistan. The sources claimed that the imported electricity was cheaper than the electricity produced by the Independent Power Producers (IPPs). However, Pakistan would need to develop its infrastructure to import more electricity from Iran.

He said that following the hike in fuel prices, the government was currently getting the electricity from the IPPs at 16 to 20 cents/kwh. He said that Pakistan would be receiving power from Iran in the next five years that would cost 10 cents/kwh. He said the power import from Iran and Tajikistan were medium-term solutions to overcome the power shortages in Pakistan that would widen following the pace of the growing economy in the future. Pakistan had signed an agreement with Tajikistan also to import 1,000MW that would be commissioned in 2013.

The official said that the construction of dams like Bhasha would take almost 10 years whereas power import from Iran and Tajikistan would help Pakistan meet its energy requirements more quickly. Pakistan is presently facing a power deficit of around 4,000MW. It would need to add 6,000MW to the national grid in a year to end the load shedding in the country.

Originally published by Daily Times website, Lahore, in English 11 Aug 08.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring South Asia. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.