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October 3, 2016

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Repair work still on after Saturday’s power blackout

LAHORE: Amid claims of reducing loadshedding, the high-ups in Ministry of Water and Power Saturday night were caught snoozing against the surge in power demand and technical snags involving seven power plants during peak demand, resulting in total blackout in upper and central parts of the country for several hours.

The repair work has not yet completed and all the seven thermal generation plants having capacity of 1260 MW are still out-of-order. Therefore, the national grid has yet not been stabilised and unannounced loadshedding is being conducted in various regions. Even the Ministry of Water and Power warned people that unannounced outages might be carried out in some areas if the electricity demand further increased with a view to saving the system from collapse.

Pakistan is presently facing a shortfall in excess to 5,000 MW, causing frequent cuts in power supply across the country. The out-of-order power plants are: Hubco Unit 4 (300 MW), Liberty power (200 MW), Engro (200 MW), Muzaffargarh Unit 3 (180 MW), Lakhra (30 MW), Halmore (200MW) and Guddu (150 MW).

The abrupt suspension of power supply just around Saturday midnight in major parts of the country had perplexed people amid confusion about the cause. Sources claimed that non-payments to independent power producers also one of the causes of shutting down of the power plants.

People were already very much cautious due to precarious situation at borders with India and prolonged cut in power supply further aggravated the situation. However, the ministry blamed ‘unprecedented’ heat wave and unforeseen technical outages in power plants for widespread suspension of supply.

Currently, the country is witnessing a severe heat wave in the month of October which is unprecedented and has resulted in increase for electricity demand, said a spokesman of the ministry on Sunday.

Further, some units of IPPs and public sector generation companies (Gencos) have gone into unanticipated technical faults, resulting in reduced power generation to the tune of 1,260 MW, he added.

Due to these reasons, the average demand and supply shortfall has increased from 4,000 MW to above 5,000 MW, the official claimed. He said the repair work was already in progress and efforts were being made to operate the units as soon as possible. “Officials of the ministry are in constant touch with the plants administration to expedite the repair work,” he said.

The National Power Control Centre (NPCC) may conduct unannounced loadshedding in some areas, if the electricity demand further rise, to save the system, he warned. Regretting the inconvenience caused to the consumers, the Ministry of Water and Power has appealed to the consumers to adopt energy conservation measures and reduce the usage as the current position may continue for a couple of days till the plants are back to the system.

The spokesman was of the view that the Ministry of Water and Power was implementing a comprehensive electricity load management plan in wake of severe heat wave in October and unforeseen technical outages to the tune of 1,260MW, resulting increase in electricity shortfall in the country. In order to manage the power position, normal load management of six hours (urban), eight hours (rural) and zero loadshedding for industries is being carried in the country. Mix industry is being witnessing four hours of load management. Areas with higher losses and theft are having different load management schedule based on their percentage of losses.

On the other hand, the WAPDA spokesperson said Mangla Hydel Power Station did not develop any fault the other night and continued to generating electricity in accordance with water outflows as per Irsa’s indent. It generated 1,115 MW of electricity during the peak hours on Sunday, which was 115 MW more than its cumulative generation capacity of 1,000 MW.

 

 

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