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Output of public sector thermal plants nosedives

The output of public sector thermal plant has plummeted to one of the lowest levels, causing additional shortfall of about 1,000 megawatts (MW) if compared with last year’s generation, said official sources here on Monday.

Against installed capacity of 4,829 MW, the power generation of inefficient public sector generation companies (GENCOs), continued to slide in recent years and its latest de-rated capacity stood at 3,580 MW.

These companies have badly failed to even produce that much electricity and presently are contributing merely around 1200-1500 MW. On May 10, 2012, electricity generation by GENCOs plunged to just 1,236 MW.

Thermal Power Station (TPS) Jamshoro is commonly referred as GENCO I, TPS Guddu is referred as GENCO II and TPS Muzaffargarh is commonly referred as GENCO III.

For example, according to official data, the installed capacity of Jamshoro stands at 850 MW but it has de-rated to 600 MW mainly due to lack of proper maintenance. The dip in power generation by public sector thermal plants has only been attributed to only maintenance issues. There is no direct negative impact on account fuel shortage in this regard, said an official.

Besides an extremely low generation by thermal plants, one of the most worrying developments has been dwindling output of GENCO-1 in recent weeks. The output of Jamshoro has dipped to as low as 100 MW in recent days.

Jamshoro thermal plant has been marred by several breakdowns due to boiler leakages etc. Similar is the case with Kotri, Lakhra, Guddo and Muzaffargarh thermal plants as they are facing forced closure more often.

The power generation by GENCOs has also been erratic and fluctuates frequently, further worsening electricity crisis. On April 07, 2012, electricity production by these thermal plants was as high as 1,900 MW while last year GENCOs even managed to produce beyond 2,200 MW. To be precise, on August 07, 2011, these plants managed to produce 2,200 MW.

It is a harsh reality that the state-owned thermal power plants have very low efficiencies and are highly expensive to maintain and operate. According to Technical Audit Study of Jamshoro, Guddu and Muzaffargarh Thermal Power Stations prepared last year, the capacity of Jamshoro plant has been degraded by 32 percent, TPS Guddu by 31 percent and generation capacity of Muzaffargarh thermal plant has been degraded by 40 percent.

More importantly, there is no plan with present government for enhancing efficiency of these GENCOs. Besides other deficiencies, federal government has been failed in taking concrete steps for efficient (operation and maintenance O&M) of these thermal plants.

As per plan of GENCOs for rehabilitating capacity, it has been estimated that $218 million are required for improving generation capacity of 1220 MW with the assistance of USAID. However, nothing concrete has been done in this regard.

In early mid-May 2012, federal government finally withdrew the decision of outsourcing the operations and maintenance contracts of the public sector power generation companies to private contractors.

It was against earlier commitment given by the government in which O&M was to be outsourced to private sector. Federal Minister for Water and Power, Syed Naveed Qamar formally announced plan to withdraw outsourcing operation contracts to private contractors.

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