Caretaker Power Minister Muhammad Ali has announced that due to dwindling natural gas reserves in the country, gas availability during the winter season will be limited to only eight hours per day.
He mentioned that gas shortages have been a recurring issue over the past few years and will persist this year because there isn’t enough gas to provide continuous 24-hour supply.
The natural gas reserves have decreased by 18% compared to the previous year.
Minister Ali expressed some optimism, stating that efforts were underway to address the gas shortage problem, particularly for industries in December. Two liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes have been secured for December to help mitigate the gas supply challenges.
He also mentioned that the government was actively cracking down on electricity theft and had collected Rs16 billion from defaulters so far.
Additionally, there were plans to change the board of directors for power distribution companies (DISCOs) and hand over their management to the private sector on long-term concessions.
Regarding gas tariffs, the Petroleum Division was preparing a proposal to increase them, which would be presented in an Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) meeting for approval. The new gas prices would take effect from the date of cabinet approval, not necessarily from July 1, 2023. The proposed tariff changes might impact protected residential consumers in the lower usage slabs, with a potential increase in their bills.