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June 13, 2018

Excessive power outages irk consumers


June 13, 2018

PESHAWAR: The consumers continued to suffer due to excessive outages in parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Tuesday.

The electricity demand in the province reaches 3,000 megawatts during peaks hours in summers.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s share stands at 13.5 percent of the country’s total power generation.

According to National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra), the country’s demand was 23,859 megawatts and total power generation stood at 21,500 megawatts.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was provided 2,100-2,200 megawatts and the total shortfall in the province is up to 800 megawatts. Resultantly 8-10 hours loadshedding is being carried out in urban and 12-16 hours in rural areas of the province.

The low power generation from Warsak Dam and overloading in Tarbela Dam has added to the woes of the consumers, particularly in Peshawar, Mardan and Haripur districts. The consumers in these districts are subjected to enhanced power cuts, tripping and low power voltage for the past few days.

A fault occurred last Thursday in the 243 megawatts capacity Warsak hydropower project. It resulted in complete shutdown of the system which led to additional power outages in Peshawar.

The overloading of Tarbela Dam transformers resulted in enhanced power loadshedding in Mardan and Hazara regions where the people are faced with 12-16 hours power outages.

Director General Public Relations, Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco), Shaukat Afzal said the power demand in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa varied between 2,000-3,000 megawatts in summers.

“This demand increases and decreases on hourly basis. The demand reaches 3,000 megawatts at peak hours while it is down to 2,000 during non-peak hours,” he added.

The Pesco official said the demand in winters dropped and varied from 1,500-2,200 megawatts.

Shaukat Afzal said the federal government was providing 2,100-2,200 megawatts to the province against its demand of 3,000 megawatts. “Our share in the total power generation is 13.5 percent,” he said.

He said Pesco received up to 2,200 megawatts from the national grid as the old and dilapidated transmission system was unable to transport 3,000 megawatts.

The official conceded that the transmission network cannot pick and transport the entire power.

About the upgrading of the power distribution network, he said that it was being done gradually.

“The system cannot be upgraded overnight and would take time,” he added.

Shaukat Afzal said Pesco established eight new grid-stations and installed 22 power transformers in the past three years.

He said a fault at Warsak Dam affected the power generation. “The fault resulted in a complete shutdown of the system at the dam which resulted in enhanced power cuts and tripping in Peshawar region,’ he pointed out.

The official said the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) was working to fix the fault, adding the project had started generating 70 megawatts of electricity.

He was unsure when the fault would be fixed and Warsak would be able to produce up to its capacity of 243 megawatts power. However, he assured the issue would be resolved in the coming days.

Shaukat Afzal said that transformers in Tarbela were overloaded due to increase in demand of electricity following the rise in temperature. He requested the consumers in Mardan and Hazara regions to cooperate with Pesco and not to resort to protests.

He denied carrying out unscheduled and excessive power outages and said that the losses were high due to power theft and drawing electricity directly from the transmission lines through hooks.

The official claimed no loadshedding was being carried in areas where there was no power theft.

“The duration of power outages depends on the recovery and lines losses in an area. Long hours of loadshedding are being carried out in the areas where people use direct hooks to obtain power from transmission lines illegally,” he pointed out.

The newly appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Pesco, Muhammad Amjad Khan, had informed the Supreme Court that the company could not transport 3,000 megawatts power and resultantly received only 2,000-2,200 megawatts from the national grid.

About the upgradation of power distribution system, he had told the court that Pesco needed Rs20 billion from the Centre in seven years to fully upgrade the decades old system.

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