ECNEC not impressed with CASA-1000 project

Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) headed by Finance Advisor Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh has raised a number of valid questions regarding the feasibility of Central Asia South Asia-1000 (CASA-1000) project. This project is meant to import 1300 MW electricity from Tajikistan and Kyrgyz republic to Pakistan and Afghanistan during summer and export the surplus electricity during winters. Pakistan will be obligated to take only 1000 MW and 300 MW will be optional. Each country will be responsible for construction of transmission lines network in the territory of their jurisdiction

The ECNEC observed that the project was conceived in 2015, when there was high shortage of electricity in the country. Now the situation is quite different as available electricity is meeting the requirement. Further, surplus electricity would be available after completion of number of projects. So initializing a project which will have utility for only five months of summer (from May to September) is not financially feasible.

It was stated that surplus electricity in the country during winter would be supplied to Central Asian countries connected with CASA-1000 transmission line project. A point was raised in the meeting as to whether these countries would want to purchase the surplus electricity during their demand season or otherwise? All these are very valid question requiring immediate answers before the govt commits Rs 46.804 billion.

Ecnec has directed the Power Division to review financial viability of the project in a holistic manner, in consultation with stakeholders and submit a report for consideration