KESC plants’ maintenance spurs power outages

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KARACHI: While people in the city are facing unabated power outages, The Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) has started “preventive maintenance” of its power plants, to be completed during the next five months, causing further electricity shortages.
According to sources in KESC the maintenance works of all power generating units were to be carried out to ensure the functions of all plants during the summers. With the change in weather, which they claimed, was the perfect time for preventive maintenance of the old and de-rated power plants between November 2010 and March 2011.
Sources said that the move of switching the power generating units off per month, causing a deficit of 200 megawatts, would widen the gap between demand and supply which has already widened after the reduction of gas supply from Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC).
Currently, according to sources, an electricity generating unit of Bin Qasim Power Plant of KESC which has the power generating capacity of 200 megawatts was switched off while four out of five units were running on gas with lower capacity. The rest of one unit was being run on furnace oil.
The sources alleged that the fresh move was an excuse for the reduction of power generating capacity to save fuel. Beside the decline in the supply of gas, the reduction of over 200 MWs at Bin Qasim would result in five to six hours’ loadshedding. 24 hours.
They also alleged that the company’s move was to save fuel during the winter season, when the company starts facing the shortage of gas and need more furnace to run the dual fuel plants of the privately run company. However the official sources in KESC claimed that the maintenance of these plants was needed to meet the peak demand of the city in summer.
At least five units of the plant would be available during the next five months.

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