Thursday September 23, 2021

6,500MW shortfall causes outages

ISLAMABAD: Despite the fact that the country has de-rated capacity to generate electricity up to 29,000 MW, the electricity shortfall has swelled to 6,500 MW mainly because of less supply of RLNG to power houses. Owing to this very fact, masses, at a time when the mercury remained on Wednesday in the range of 41 to 46 degree centigrade, have been left to huge loadshedding of up to 20 hours in KP, interior Sindh and Balochistan.

The less hydro generation of 3,300 MW in the wake of maintenance of turbines in Tarbela Dam that last for six days has also caused the massive power outages, which also gripped the areas of South Punjab, particularly DG Khan, top official sources told The News.

They said that the government has also closed down its old Gencos and runs only Guddu and other power plants of 450 MW. It also worsened the situation.

They said that the revenue based loadshedding of 5,500 MW has adversely hit the country, particularly KPK, Balochistan and Sindh. However, the government is conceding the power deficit of 1,500 MW only. If 1,500 MW is added with revenue based loadshedding of 5,500 MW, the total power deficit stands at 6,500 MW.

SAPM on Power Tabish Gauhar did not respond when he was questioned, “Sources are saying that right now the revenue based loadshedding of 5,500 MW is being done in KPK, Sindh and Balochistan and in addition power outages of 1,500 MW are being announced. Total power outages of 6,500 MW are being done. Sources also say less quantity of LNG is being provided to 11 LNG-run power plants. Pakistan has a de-rated capacity of 28,000 MW. How much is being generated and what is the actual demand? And what is the root cause of not increasing the electricity production despite the fact Pakistan has the capacity to generate electricity to cater to the demand easily even if hydropower is being produced less?”

The official sources also said that if there was a deficit of 800 MW, then countrywide loadshedding stands at 1 hour. Since the power deficit now stands at 6,500MW, the loadshedding goes up to 7-8 hours across the country.

Since the whole country has not been exposed to loadshedding, people in KPK, Sindh and Balochistan and some areas of South Punjab are badly suffering from loadshedding of 4-20 hours.

Masses are suffering in Peshawar from 6-10 hours loadshedding, in interior Sindh 4-14 hours, in Balochistan up to 22 hours and in FATA areas, which have been merged with KPK, electricity is being provided only for six hours.

South Punjab areas such as DG Khan are suffering from the 8-12 hours loadshedding. The people in Lahore, the capital of Punjab, also experienced the electricity outages of 3-4 hours last night. Now the situation has improved to some extent but in suburban areas, people are still experiencing two-hour outages.

According to top officials at the Power Division, the power sector is being provided less RLNG of 650mmcfd and if all the RLNG plants are run with full capacity, the RLNG is required up to over 900mmcfd. The three RLNG based power plants of 3,600 MW, having over 60 percent efficiency, are not being fully exploited and more importantly the furnace oil has not been arranged for the FO run plants. The Energy Ministry says that the demand has increased up to 24,100 MW and the electricity generation stands at 22,600 MW, showing a deficit of 1,500 MW.

Mian Shahbaz Sharif, PML-N President, in his tweet said: "Total electricity supplied today was around 16,000MW against the demand of 25,000MW. We, in 2018, generated & transmitted even 27,000MW successfully at a lower rate. The question is, when both enough electricity & transmission capacity are there, then why loadshedding at this scale?”

And Federal Energy Minister Hammad Azhar, in his tweet, said that an average shortfall of 1,000 MW has arisen since the last 48 hours due to rehabilitation in a major hydel plant and outages in a few thermal plants. Tarbela will be back online in 4-6 days (3,000 MW) and efforts will be made to add 1,100 MW from alternative plants by tonight to plug the shortfall.

However, independent experts raised valid questions as to why not the government has preempted the demand in June, which has actually gone up over 26,000 MW and why not the Power Division completed the maintenance of the thermal power plants and turbine at Tarbela Dam when temperature was low in the month of May.

Ex-finance minister Miftah Ismail in his tweet taunted the government saying: “PTI was telling us that PMLN installed more power than needed. This year PTI bought the most expensive LNG, produced the most expensive power through diesel and added record billions to circular debt. Now PTI is saying there is a capacity shortage. If you must lie, at least lie consistently.”

Meanwhile, PMLN President and Opposition Leader in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif has expressed grave concern over the worst loadshedding making lives of the people miserable amid scorching heat.

In a statement Wednesday, Shahbaz said the amount of load-shedding was alarming despite the excessive power generation in the system. The people were starving, schoolchildren were fainting, making the situation deplorable, he lambasted.

He said the PTI should quit politics and should step down from government after witnessing the shocking scenes from all over the country. He reminded how in 2018, there was surplus power in the system and zero load-shedding.

“If this government is so terrible that it cannot oven manage installed capacity, it must go home and spare the people of Pakistan from more misery in the heat of the entire summer to follow. If Imran Niazi is incapable to address this dire situation, a parliamentary committee should be formed so that the opposition could do something to provide relief to the people”, Shahbaz maintianed.

He said Niazi's government had already put everything beyond the buying capacity of the people, from bread to electricity and everything else. Imran's policies have rendered millions unemployed and after flour and sugar medicine, people were struggling for electricity despite paying heavy bills, he added.

Shahbaz said Imran Khan has gifted the nation with a new Pakistan with old problem of load-shedding. He reminded that under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif, 14,000 MW of additional power was generated to make Roshan Pakistan while Imran Khan could not even run Pakistan with extra power.

The former Cheif Minister Punjab said by the grace of God Almighty, 5500 MW of electricity was generated in Punjab alone. But, he said, over the past 9 years, the so-called 350 dams of PTI could not be built in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from where electricity was to be supplied to the whole Pakistan.

Far from adding a single new unit, PTI has not been able to restore power supply to the whole of Pakistan in three long years. He said PML-N managed a reduction in line losses but this government could not maintain that reduction. PMLN recovered 93% electricity bill, but PTI government decreased it to 82%.

“The present government had been gifted a country that generated electricity at low cost having had access to LNG. But they chose only to provide relief to ATMs instead of the public by generating expensive electricity on diesel”, he slammed.

“The country had a circular debt of Rs 1,200 billion which the PTI government increased to Rs 2,800 billion, and it will now find a new excuse, fabricate a new lie, write a new story of accusation and deception”, he concluded.