EghtesadOnline: Islamabad appreciates Tehran's efforts to provide it with electricity and is hopeful of renewing its power import agreement.
Omar Ayub Khan, Pakistan's water and power minister, made the statement on Saturday in Islamabad during a meeting with an Iranian delegation headed by Ali Asghar Esmaelnia, a deputy manager at Iran Power Generation, Distribution and Transmission Company (Tavanir).
The two sides explored ways for increasing electricity imports and supplying it to different regions in the neighboring country, according to Financial Tribune.
Commending Tavanir's efforts, Ayub Khan noted, "Islamabad is importing power from Iran and hopefully will continue to do so."
The two sides also discussed regional issues. he said without elaboration.
"Negotiations are underway and the agreement to import power from Iran will be renewed," Ayub Khan said.
In 2002, Pakistan signed a deal with Iran to import 34 megawatts of power per year.
The agreement later raised that volume to 104 MW per annum via three transmission lines, Esmaelnia said.
"A 132-kilovolt line carries electricity from Jakigur in Sistan-Baluchestan to the town of Mand in Pakistan."
Two other 20-kV power lines send 4 MW of electricity combined to the neighboring country from Mirjaveh and Saravan in Iran’s southeast.
Regarding a 230-kV power transmission line to the Pakistani port of Gwadar, the Tavanir official said the line, which starts from Polan region in Chabahar, is yet to become operational. After completion of this line Iran’s power export to Pakistan could reach 300 MW.
Under the previous government in Tehran, it had been decided that new infrastructure would be created for exporting and added 1,000 MW to Pakistan and consultants form both sides were set to carry out feasibility studies.
But the project stalled soon apparently because Islamabad was unable to fund the construction of 500 kilometers of power lines in its own territory, the official said.
Energy experts and Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian are of the opinion that importing electricity from Iran is the best possible option for Pakistan.
According to Pakistani news outlets, from chronic load shedding to electricity theft, heavy transmission and distribution losses to massive non-payment of dues, the country's power sector is prone to every problem imaginable despite attempts by various governments over the years to fix the system.
Over 140 million Pakistanis (of the total 197 million population) either have no access to the power grid or have to make do with over 12 hours of load shedding every day.
The average power shortfall is 4,000 megawatts.
Iran's electricity industry is 14th in the world in terms of output. It is the largest exporter and importer of electricity in the Middle East and exports power to Pakistan, Turkey, Iraq and Afghanistan. Azerbaijan and Armenia supply power to Iran under swap agreements.