Friday June 02, 2023

Electricity crisis worsens as shortfall hits 7,468MW

The total power generation presently stands at 18,031MW, while the demand hovers around 25,500MW in the country

April 26, 2022
Power pylon. Photo: The News/File
Power pylon. Photo: The News/File

LAHORE: With an increase in temperatures, the energy crisis has worsened in the country, with the power shortfall reaching 7,468MW on Monday, and resulting in up to 10-18 hours of loadshedding in the country.

Shutdown of power plants is being blamed for the fuel shortage and technical reasons for shortfall in electricity generation. The total power generation presently stands at 18,031MW, while the demand hovers around 25,500MW. As many as 3,674 megawatts of electricity is being produced from hydropower, while government thermal power plants are generating only 786MW. In contrast, private power producers are contributing 9,526MW electricity. Sources said wind power plants were producing 487MW, solar 104MW, biogas 141MW and atomic power plants were producing 3,312 megawatts of electricity currently.

Long and as unannounced outages have hit routine life badly. Rehana Jadoon, a resident of Rawalpindi, decried unannounced load-shedding continues in the city. They did not think of this in the holy month, Zubair Ahmed of Gujranwala said.

“I don't understand the situation. Fifteen days ago, there was no loadshedding and there was no shortage of diesel. Now where did it go? Does anyone know,” he asked.

Muhammad Hanif Khan, a resident of Karachi, said due to lesser supply from national grid, load management was carried out in his area. Hence, outages of four hours at least are being carried out in his locality.

According to Power Division officials, people in urban centres are suffering from up to 10 hours a day, and in rural areas up to 18 hours a day outages in the country. The power cuts made people’s lives miserable at the time of Iftari and Sehri.

Blame-game continued over lingering energy crisis on Monday. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that Mian Nawaz Sharif's govt ended the worst load-shedding in five years. He blamed the previous Imran Khan government’s energy policies for the severe load-shedding in the country. In a tweet he said the PTI government failed to address the problem of electricity generation in its tenure. “The PTI government neither purchased fuel on time nor repaired power plants, hence the current load-shedding,” he added.

He alleged that expensive power generation by the PTI government through inefficient plants was costing nation Rs100 billion per month. He said his government was making efforts to fix the load-shedding problem.

However, former energy minister Hammad Azhar rejected PM Shehbaz Sharif’s claims. He said the country was facing load-shedding and unavailability of diesel due to the incompetence of the imported government. Power generation capacity exists, but the present government has not been able to utilise it. The highest stock of diesel is available, but stockpiling started by creating ambiguity in price.

Hammad Azhar added that the current government caused an economic crisis by creating a situation of extreme uncertainty. Due to untimely management, load-shedding crisis was created. This country is doing well only on government’s blue-eyed private news channels; otherwise things are very bad.

He said that there were only five power plants under repair, and most of them were in the private sector. “Fuel shortage was caused because of default of two PMLN LNG contracts, and prompt diversions on gas system were not made in last two weeks,” he claimed. “This is a classic mismanagement issue that could easily have been avoided,” he added.

He said that power crisis in the country had become serious again. In just one day, the shortfall reached 7,500MW with an increase of two-and-a half times. 10 to 18 hours load shedding in many cities.

Hammad Azhar said electricity load-shedding had started and there were reports of diesel shortage in rural areas. Matters with the imported government are not being handled at all.

On top of that, the imported government has promised with the IMF that it will increase the price of petrol, diesel and electricity. This will be a severe blow to the economy and will have a negative impact on the growth rate.

Abid Sher Ali, former Minister Power and PMLN leader observed that Nawaz Sharif's government had generated 12,000 extra electricity. Despite this, the PTI government, with its mismanagement and incompetence, had re-created the problem. Today there is a shortfall of more than 5,000MW due to non-purchase of oil and gas, he concluded.