Chinese giant strives to improve Pakistan's power dilemma

By Muhammad Mehdi | Gwadar Pro Jun 2, 2023

Editor's Note: The author is Chairman of the Institute of International Relations and Media Research (IIRMR). The article only reflects the opinion of the author and not necessarily of Gwadar Pro.

China and Pakistan and the people of both the countries are related to each other by eternal ties of friendship and love. Nowadays, I am in China with the Pakistan media think tank delegation that invited by Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Lahore, enjoying the hospitality of our Chinese friends. During my visit, there was an opportunity to visit the office of China Electric Power Equipment and Technology Co., Ltd. (CET).

Various issues were discussed with the top officials of this company. They have many viable plans in terms of CPEC and other issues to make the energy crisis in Pakistan a thing of the past through the implementation of them.

When it comes to energy crisis, until 2017, it was believed that Pakistan's economy would be included in the twenty largest economies of the world in a few years. However, this has not happened yet-energy crisis in Pakistan as the crucial factor. This crisis occurs again and again which causes severe damage especially to the power sector. Now the question arises: why this energy crisis occurs in Pakistan which particularly disturbs the power sector?

Among a series of reasons, the most important point is that our power generation system does not match the electricity demand, and this mismatch keeps the electricity price high. In addition, Pakistan’s transmission lines are very old and dilapidated due to disrepair, making smooth power transmission impossible.

In this process, a lot of electricity has been wasted. Although our systems generate electricity, the people cannot get it in time. As a result, the people in Pakistan have to suffer the punishment of load shedding while along with the same load shedding, they also have to pay heavy electricity bills. Thus, when the CPEC project was contemplated, the problems of the power sector were kept at the forefront.

In this context, a series of big projects have been started, one of which has been completed by CET., the Matiari Lahore Transmission Project. Through this project, it has been ensured that safety and reliability optimized energy distribution is an important factor in power transmission. Capacity of the project to transmit electricity is 35 billion KW hours per annum. The most important thing about this project is that it is the first high voltage direct current project in the history of Pakistan, as well as the first project of this kind of private sector in Pakistan, which is built on the principle of boot i.e., build own, operate and transfer.

This project will be handed over to National Transmission and Dispatch Company Pakistan after 25 years. Thanks to this project, Southern and Northern grids have been connected to each other. It has two convert stations at Matiari and Lahore. The convert station at Lahore connects it to the substation at New Lahore which connects this power to the national grid. The contract for the construction of the project was signed in May 2018 and the work was started in December 2018 while now the entire maintenance exercise has been carried out since its inception.

Seven thousand new jobs have been created during this time and the completion of this project in record time has made it clear that Pakistan's power sector problems can be overcome and resolved very quickly if there is a will.After the launch of China's CPEC, China's investment in Pakistan's power sector has reached 21 billion dollars, and in this investment, this project exists as a masterpiece of CET.

As a patriotic Pakistani, I always consider that to ensure the smooth progress of various projects under the CPEC framework, bring benefits to our people's livelihood, it is crucial to guarantee timely availability of funds for Chinese companies that help Pakistan improve infrastructure. At present, CET is also facing the problem that funds are not in place in time. Therefore, our government should take necessary measures to ensure that there will be no problems with the funds of enterprises assisting in the construction, so that our country's infrastructure construction will be more timely, efficient and complete.

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