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Power generation touches record low

The power generation plunged to a historic low and is even below the level achieved in 2009, despite the fact that over 3,000MWs were added afterwards, according to official figures. Current estimates regarding the size of the gap between demand and supply stand at 5,000MWs but the Ministry of Water and Power denies this.

Official figures show that peak power generation plunged to 9,500MWs and off-peak to 7,500MWs on January 6. Officials said that Pakistan managed to produce more electricity in 2009 as compared to the present level of generation. The idle capacity of independent producers has been estimated at over 3,000MWs, while total thermal generation capacity nosedived to less than 7,000MW due to unavailability of fuel, they said.

Owing to peculiar hydrological conditions, the hydel power generation fell to 2,000MWs during the peak demand and plummeted to just 1,000MWs during non-peak hours. Electricity supply has faltered by over one-thirds of the demand. The gap between demand and supply has widened to over 5,000MW, said the officials.

Owing to the huge gap between the demand and supply, the people have to face over 10 hours of outages daily, while the textile industry is being provided power for just eight hours on a daily basis, said officials.

The biggest challenge being faced is the procurement of fuel for thermal plants, said officials. “On this front, we have failed miserably,” they said, adding that the present disgraceful performance of the power sector is nothing but an outcome of bad governance.

The officials said that it is obvious that reliance on thermal power increases in winter; therefore, steps should have been taken for the smooth provision of fuel for thermal units but economic managers in the federal capital failed to do so. “The lethargic attitude of the ministry of water and power has left the entire nation in a quagmire, crippled routine life and stopped the wheels of industry,” they said. As a result of the mismanagement on part of the federal government, said officials, thermal plants are also not working at full capacity. Most of the independent power projects are being run on 50 percent to one-thirds of the capacity on the back of low fuel supply. Kot Addu Power Company (Kapco) is even worse, they said, adding that power generation by Kapco remained 350MW against a capacity of 1,350MW. The Guddu thermal plant, another public sector entity, is producing just 700MW against its capacity of 1,050MW. The less than capacity generation by Guddu plant is a curse, said an official, adding that dedicated supply of over 200mmcfd gas is there but the management of Guddu plant has been unable to utilise this precious resource of generating low-cost power. When contacted, Tanvir Alam, spokesman for the Ministry of Water and Power, admitted that power generation remained stagnant during the last one year. He insisted that the present power generation level is equal to what was achieved last year.

He said 1,500MW is being produced by hydel plants, adding that overall power generation is estimated at 9,500MW, while demand is calculated at 13,000MW. Alam claimed that the maximum gap between the demand and supply is 3,500MW.

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