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10-12 hour outages as Irsa starting canals closure on 26th

The electricity loadshedding is expected to increase to 10 to 12 hours in urban and rural areas after a week as the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) will start closing down canals on December 26 (Thursday) for annual cleaning and maintenance.

A senior government official said the canals closure that would last till Jan 30 would reduce the hydropower generation by more than 4,000MW, resulting in increased outages. Currently, the total generation from hydel and thermal power plants and IPPs is standing between 8,000MW to 9,000MW against the overall demand of around 11,500MW. Sources said that only 5,000MW to 6,000MW generation would be left in energy basket after starting of de-silting canals.

Currently, the urban areas are facing four hours loadshedding while six hour outages are hitting the consumers of rural areas which is anticipated to go up by another four to five hours after a week.

Water and Power Khawaja Asif and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar have already cautioned about increase in loadshedding in coming days. “The domestic consumers will face more loadshedding for few weeks,” said Khawaja Asif in a statement on Thursday. He added that there was pressure on gas power plants owing to annual closure of canals and to ensure gas supply to industries as a result the country would face loadshedding for few weeks. The minister apologized the masses in advance for the inconvenience. He appealed the domestic consumers to save the electricity.

The Irsa official said under the canals closure plan, the water regulator would reduce discharges from Mangla Dam and Tarbela Dam. However, the official added, the minimum releases of 15,000 cusecs from Tarbela and 10,000 cusec from Mangla were necessary to meet drinking water requirements. Hence, not more than 1000MW hydel generation is expected out of total capacity of 6700MW for a period of one month (December 26 to January 30), according to sources. Under the canal closure plan, Punjab’s Lower Jhelum Canal (Mangla Command Canal) will remain closed from Dec 26 to Jan 12 and Thall Canal (Terbela Command Canal) from Jan 13 to 30.

The other canals under Mangla command would remain closed as: Rasul Qadirabad Link (Dec 26 to Jan12), Qadirabad Balloki Link (Dec 27 to Jan 13), Lower Bari Doab Canal (Dec 29 to Jan 15), Balloki Sulemanki Link Dec 29 to Jan 15), Upper Pakpattan Canal (Dec 30 to Jan 16) Eastern Sadiqia Canal (Dec 30 to Jan 16). Similarly Upper Jehlum Canal, Lower Chenab Canal, Jhang Branch, Upper Bhalwal Canal, Upper Chenab Canal and Central Bari Doab Canal will remain closed during different periods between December 26 to January 30.

The canals under Terbella command will remain closed as: Trimmu Canal (Jan 10 to Jan27), Trimmu Sidhnai Link (Jan 10 to Jan27), Sidhnai Canal (Jan 11 to Jan 28), SMB Link (Jan 11 to Jan 28), Lower Pakpattan Canal (Jan 12 to Jan 29), Lower Bhalwal Canal (Jan 13 to Jan 30), Panjnad Canals (Jan 3 to Jan 20) and Taunsa Canals (Dec 31 to Jan 17).

The canals originating from the head Tarimu will remain closed from Jan 10 to 27 and Sidhnai Canal from Jan 11 to 28. The canals from Punjnad will be closed between Jan 5 and 22 and those from Taunsa from Dec 31 to Jan 17. Kotri Barrage will remain closed from Dec 26 to Jan 10 and Sukkur Barrage from Jan 5 to Jan 20. The Chashma Right Bank Canal will remain closed from Jan 1 to 31.

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