Non-payment of dues to IPPs resulting in increased outages


The people are enduring 10 to 14 hours of load shedding every day now owing to some 40 percent of power plants not producing electricity because of the Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO)’s failure to pay them their dues.
To add insult to injury, instead of admitting to the fact that it has not paid power plants in quite some time, PEPCO is hiding the truth behind false power reports, sources in PEPCO told Pakistan Today on Monday.
They said independent power producers (IPPs) had refused to produce electricity unless PEPCO cleared their dues. PEPCO’s circular debt is already above Rs 280 billion. The sources said power shortfall was somewhere above 6,000 megawatts at the very least, only because of PEPCO’s failure to pay the IPPs. They said PEPCO authorities were forging the figures to show extra demand instead of admitting to the real cause of the shortage. For instance on Sunday, a holiday, electricity consumption dropped because almost all offices were closed, but even then figures issued by PEPCO showed high consumption. According to PEPCO, the power demand on Sunday was 18,544MW with generation of 12,600MW, a shortfall of 5,440MW. The IPPs produced 5,205MW, while thermal and hydel generation produced 1,256MW and 5,995MW respectively.
“This is a totally wrong figure, as 18,544MW is peak-time demand when industries are working and air conditioners are fully operational everywhere, which was not the case on Sunday,” said a senior Water and Power Ministry official, adding that PEPCO was trying to hide its incompetence behind wrong figures. He said that in actuality, the power demand remained at 16,500MW while production dropped to 10,500MW. “The production through IPPs was just 3,500MW while PEPCO claims it is 5,200MW,” he said, adding that only 60 percent of power houses were working while the rest had stopped producing electricity, which was causing the long outages. Earlier, this month nine power plants, Atlas Power, Attock Gen, Halmore Power, Liberty Power Tech, Nishat Chunian, Nishat Power, Orient Power, Saif Power and Sapphire Electric Company, served notices to the government for non-payment of their dues. The government has assured them of clearance of Rs 8.5 billion capacity payments before September 29, around Rs 400 million daily charges on a daily basis and a major chunk of other dues by October 14. The IPPs’ refusal to produce power has led to increased outages across the country, and many parts of Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Karachi remained without power intermittently throughout the day.