Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Power and Petroleum Tabish Gauhar here on Monday vowed to ensure an inexpensive and reliable power generation and distribution system under the newly approved National Electricity Policy (NEP) 2021. “Seamless power supply at an affordable rate with efficient distribution is one of top priorities of the government,” he said while addressing the inaugural consultative session of National Electricity Plan 2021. He said that the approval of NEP by the Council of Common Interest (CCI) was an important development. The NEP provided goals, principles and directives of the power sector on sustainable contours, he said. The SAPM said that Renewable Energy (RE) Policy 2019 had also been approved to enhance the share of RE in the energy mix. Hydro energy was also included in the definition of RE for the first time and it was imperative, he added. He said the government has set an ambitious target to generate 60 percent of total power generation from RE by 2030 on the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan. Tabish Gauhar said there was no structural planning for the last few decades resulting in no concrete electricity policy in the country. Rental Power Project Policy was also introduced unnecessarily for stop gap arrangement, he added. He said due to the front-loaded and costly agreements (Take or Pay) regardless of need by past regimes, now the government was compelled to pay capacity payments to Independent Power Producers (IPPs) amounting to Rs 900 billion in current year, which would increase from Rs 1455 to Rs1500 billion by 2023. He said various projects having accumulative capacity of over 25,000 MW were in pipeline which could not be rolled back. Nowadays, our total demand is fluctuating around 23,000 MW and in next 10 years, it would also be doubled. Currently, the national economy is growing at 4 percent and it will also increase to 5 or 6 percent in the next few years, he said. He said that it was a good omen that our national economy was growing at a fast pace but our electricity demand would also certainly be increased. The SAPM said time has come to review the 10-year debt payment policy on power generation projects and its period should be extended to 15 or 20 years. We could not afford short term 10-year debt servicing policy on power projects any more, he added. He said the government was taking steps to set up a power-commodity market under a multi-seller and multi-buyer model along with a liberalized wheeling regime that would not only give the power consumers more choice of supply but also reduce price and improve customer service quality. More progress would be made till next year and 16-20 percent consumers would be able to get electricity through a liberalized wheeling regime, he said. Tabish said in the past, no due attention was given to the distribution system which also needed a concrete strategy. The Central Power Purchase Agency (CPPA) has also set up priorities for payment of outstanding electricity, he added. The SAPM said the government was also taking effective steps to address the demand and supply issue. Recently, we witnessed a gap between demand and supply due to dry docking of the RLNG terminal. Although, it was purely a technical issue but it was politicized, he added. He said no major power and gas load-management was carried out despite the said technical issue including low water inflow in rivers. He said despite capacity payment charges to IPPs, power supply from several IPPs also remained unavailable during dire need of electricity to the country.He said inquiry would be held in this regard to ascertain the facts. Secretary Power Division Ali Raza Bhutta informed the participants about the goals and objectives of national electricity policy. He said the NEP would provide guidelines, implementation mechanisms and tools for the realization of the policy goals for the power sector. The NEP plant would entail high level tasks, timelines and responsibilities of respective sector entities to meet the policy directives, he said. He said the NEP envisaged a plan to cater for a 15 years perspective for the power sector. The NEP has defined three goals including access to affordable energy, energy security and sustainability, he said.