Power and gas shortages to continue till March


Government has no plan for short-term

Situation may get better if the weather turns better

Chilly weather coupled with low gas pressure, if you are lucky enough to get it, or gas and power shortages in the form of load shedding, has made the lives of countrymen miserable. However, the situation is likely to continue and will improve with a change in weather.

At present, electricity demands stand between 13500MW to 14500MW, while power generation stands around 8500MW-9500MW, leaving the consumers with a shortfall of 5000MW. Gas shortfall stands at two billion cubic feet per day (BCFD), whereas gas production within the country stands at is 4 BCFD, along with import of 400 MMCFD.

The shortfall in both resources is expected to last until March.

Sources say that the situation will improve with a change in weather. Power and gas crisis has worsened in major parts of the country following heavy downpours and snowfall. The demand for gas has increased in domestic sector with the change in weather. Already facing power shortage, the masses are forced to rely on alternate sources of gas. “Gas crisis has worsened in the country as gas supply to the domestic consumers of Punjab has worsened. While the situation in Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is not as bad as in Punjab, consumers across the country are complaining about low gas pressure and outages for hours at end,” added the sources.

On Sunday, the shortfall surged to 400 MMCFD, forcing the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL) to divert to the domestic sector a supply of about 275 MMCFD, out of over 400 MMCFD liquefied natural gas (LNG) meant for industrial, power and CNG sectors. Sources say that the company (SNGPL) is supplying around 1400-1500 MMCFD to the domestic sector, while the sector’s demand ranges between 1800-1900 MMCFD for about five million consumers in Punjab and KP.

When a spokesman of SNGPL was contacted, he said the situation is really problematic these days and SNGPL is trying hard to ensure gas supply to at least domestic consumers during winter. He said there is no gas load shedding and low gas pressure is because of increased dependence on the commodity by domestic consumers. He said the use of geysers, ovens, heaters and appliances using gas by domestic consumers has increased exponentially following a severe cold. “Hopefully, the situation will improve within next 10 days,” SNGPL spokesman said.

Experts say that it is the masses that have to bear the brunt of gas and power shortages. They say the shortfall has reached an alarming level and people should get ready to face a severe energy crisis amid chilling weather. They say that our outdated power distribution and transmission system is unable to transmit electricity to the consumers in rain or during snowfall. They were of the view that increasing gas and power losses due to old transmission and distribution network of gas and power have added to the woes of the public and worsened routine life of the countrymen.

It is worth mentioning here that mismanagement and inefficiency coupled with financial constraints being faced by energy sector have badly affected the economy of the country. Industrial and trade activities have slowed down while unemployment has increased to levels that mock at the fate of the nation, all hinting at the sorry state of affairs and weak governance in the country. It seems power and gas shortfall is a genie that the government can’t put back in the bottle.

Efforts to get the version of Water and Power Ministry remained in vain as its spokesperson did not respond to texts and calls.