Dawn News

March, 28 2015
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Gas, fuel shortage creates mass outages

The Tarbella Dam received only 17,000 cusecs of water and the Mangla lake 14,000 cusecs on Thursday. Outflows of the dams were barely enough to generate around 1,000MW, said the official. - File photo

LAHORE: Electricity shortfall rose on Thursday beyond 6,000 megawatt (MW) that is almost 50 per cent of total 13,000MW demand in the country, thus necessitating a 10 to 14 hours loadshedding throughout the country.

According to the Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO), urban feeders suffered more than 10 hours of loadshedding while in rural feeders, there is virtually no electricity.

An official said the company feared that the situation could be chaotic if there was no improvement in the next 24 hours, and, to make the matter worse, there were no signs for improvement.

The generation is suffering on three accounts – fuel, gas and water.

The official said fuel supplies were eaten up by ever-increasing circular debt while two major dams were empty and river flows were down to 10-year low. There was no gas supply to power houses and no money for alternate fuel, said the official, adding that the three factors had resulted into exceptionally low generation, which even during the peak hours – from 6pm to 11pm – came down to a paltry 8,600MW.

“The decisive drop has come from hydel generation, which has dropped from 5,000MW last week to a paltry 1,000MW on Thursday,” says another official of the company.

The Tarbella Dam received only 17,000 cusecs of water and the Mangla lake 14,000 cusecs on Thursday. Outflows of the dams were barely enough to generate around 1,000MW, said the official.

More than half of the country was without power at any given point of time on Thursday, said the official, adding that one should not forget that it is still winter. Once the mercury starts rising, the loadshedding would go up correspondingly.

The company had to shut down some of its inefficient plants because of their Rs25 per unit price. It brought down thermal generation from over 2,500MW to around 1,200MW, creating a shortfall of 1,300MW on this head alone.

To massive add to the company woes is the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) which was supplied over 700MW by PEPCO, despite the fact that it is a private company that is supposed to generate its own power. The PEPCO official says the KESC does not pay its bills, and adds to circular debt, squeezes fuel supplies.

But the company is helpless as the government does not want to snap KESC supplies, laments the company official.


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