Prolonged power cuts lay bare PML-N’s tall claims


ISLAMABAD: With the onset of summer and power shortfall climbing to 4500MW, electricity crisis has reared its ugly head again in the form of up to eight hours of powers cuts in urban areas and and 12 hours of power outages elsewhere in the country.

Claims of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) regarding improvement in power position have proved void with the start of summer. Power shortfall has risen up to 4500MW mainly because of the burgeoning circular debt and independent power producers’ (IPPs) failure to generate the required amount of electricity.

Even, much-touted Nandipur power plant that cost Rs 58billion to the national exchequer has miserably failed to generate electricity as per its installed capacity as power production from this plant has been stopped without even a mention of zero production from the Bhikki power plant. As a result, 6-8 hours power loadshedding in urban areas and 10-12 hours power outages has started haunting the citizens.

Sources in the Power Ministry told this scribe that power production had witnessed a dip and as a result power shortfall had increased. At present, electricity demand stands at 16,000MW against the total power generation of 11055MW, added the sources.

Power position on March 28, (Tuesday) revealed that total electricity generation was 11055MW. Power production with hydel source was 1401MW, Genco’s 2387MW, IPP’s 7267MW, wind 131MW (capacity 584mw), Guddu 350MW (capacity 747MW, solar 220MW (capacity 400mw).

Currently, Bhikki power plant is producing zero-MW against capacity of 1180MW. Nandipur power plant is also generating zero-MW against installed capacity of 425MW.

Power position further show drawl as per AMR (automatic meter reading) was 9162MW, while unaccounted drawl due to non metering and communication failure remained 1119.15MW, and transmission and transformation losses at 7 per cent was 773.85MW. Total drawl including 7% losses and unaccounted drawl was at 11055MW.

Sources also said that power production from IPPs and government-owned power plants had been reducing. Around 4500 MW of electricity can be generated from these plants. However, due to circular debt, the Ministry of Water And Power has been found inactive. They said though furnace oil was available in the stocks of the PSO to run thermal power plants, the government had not released pending payments running in billions to state-owned oil giant PSO that’s why supply of furnace oil to the plants had disrupted/decreased.

It may be mentioned here that the ruling PML-N has made tall claims of bringing reforms in the power sector to improve the power situation, but there is no let up in the situation as prolonged power cuts have started compounding miseries of the people of Pakistan.