Hours long power load shedding to reduce by end of April

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Giving new hope to the masses regarding improvement in power situation, Water and Power Minister Khawaja Asif on Monday said additional electricity will be added to the main system by the end of April.

Khawaja Asif made the announcement of relief in power load shedding during a press conference held in the premises of Ministry of Water and Power, where outgoing Water and Power secretary Younas Dagha and newly appointed Secretary Yousaf Naseem Khokhar were present. He said that power load shedding will be normal in April as 4000-4500 MW electricity will be given to the system soon. Presently, electricity shortfall stands around 5420 MW. He said the government was making all-out efforts to control electricity load shedding. The minister urged the masses to give up the unnecessary use of electricity, adding the increase in demand is because of a sudden increase in temperature.

Making tall claims of bringing improvement in near future, the minister said the normal gap in generation and demand will exist for some time but the ministry will bridge the increasing gap. Load shedding will be back to 3-4 hours in urban areas and five hours in rural areas. The industry is exempted from load shedding on dedicated feeders since 2015, claimed the minister.

“I have received load shedding complaints during the last 10-15 days which is genuine and we do not contradict it, but some facts are not being reported properly in the media,” he said, adding, “The existing power load shedding was temporary because of water shortage in reservoirs and increase in its demand due to hot weather; the situation would be under control soon as the government was taking steps to reduce line losses and improve electricity infrastructure across the country.”

According to the minister, power demand was 17970 MW at 12 pm on Monday which is again a record in April as compared to 15691 MW during the same month which implies that the demand was approximately 2000 MWs more in April this year. In April 2016, generation stood at 11490 MW which has increased 12550 MW, implying that generation increased by 1000 MW during the year, he added. “This shows a shortfall of 5420 MW. IPPs were producing 6217 MW in April last year which has increased to 8,000 MW, showing an average increase of 1500 MW if we compared April this year with April last year,” he said.

He further said IPPs and Gencos are outperforming for the last 10-15 days which shows that IPPs are running at full capacity contrary to media reports. An additional 1000 MW of hydel electricity and an overall 4000-4500MW of electricity would be added to the national grid, after which there will be a significant decrease in electricity, he said. He also claimed that an increase of 1000-1500 MW will be witnessed in April due to the melting of the snow, whereas plants which were shut down due to scheduled maintenance will also start generation, which is 2700-2800 MW. “Petroleum Ministry has also promised to supply gas to 525 MW Nandipur power project by the end of current month. Besides this, 400 MW will also increase in generation capacity of Guddu thermal power plant, he added.

Minister further claimed that recoveries have improved from 88.6 per cent to 93.8 per cent from 2014 to 2016. Losses have also reduced from 19.1 per cent to 17.9 per cent due to which Rs116 billion additional cash has been made available to the power sector, he claimed.

Talking about circular debt, the minister said that it is stated that the government has to pay Rs440 billion to the IPPs. He clarified that total circular debt stock was Rs385 billion as of March 31, 2017, of which Rs163 billion have to be paid to the IPPs, including Rs56 billion of PSO. In addition to this, the government has to pay a capacity payment of Rs54 billion, totalling it to Rs217 billion, and if Rs56 billion of PSO is excluded, the total IPPs receivables are Rs161 billion.

“Federal government owes Rs161 billion to IPPs, of which Rs69 billion are under litigation which implies that total ‘clear cut’ amount of IPPs was Rs92 billion,” he continued.

Khawaja Asif, however, failed to provide overdue amounts of OGDCL, SSGC and SNPGL.

Asif said that some areas have been de-electrified over non-payments. He said that there is no load shedding for the industrial sector since October 2015.

He said solar tariff has come down from Rs17 per unit to Rs6 per unit, wind tariff has been slashed from Rs15 per unit to Rs6.50 per unit, RLNG tariff from Rs9.5 per unit to Rs6.6 per unit, whereas coal tariff will come down from Rs8.5 per unit to Rs7 per unit.“The tariff has some down from all power generation sources,” he added. Neelum Jehlum will start generation during the early months of 2018 will be in full production in mid of 2018.

Khawaja Asif also said that at present 10-12 hours load shedding is being implemented in different areas, and this volume of load shedding will continue even in future in those areas where recovery is only 10 per cent.

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