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No respite from outages for two years: IPR report

Updated February 27, 2015

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—Sumera Adil
—Sumera Adil

LAHORE: There is no respite from electricity loadshedding in sight for the next two years as the gap in peak demand is estimated to exceed 4,500MW, says a fact sheet of the Institute for Policy Reforms (IPR) about the state of the power sector.

“Despite the marginal increase in generation, loadshedding is expected to continue well into the year 2019, exacting a high cost of 3.7 per cent of GDP on the economy,” said the fact sheet released on Thursday.

Based on Nepra’s recently released State of Industry Report 2014, the IPR fact sheet contained important information about a sector that has been a source of great hardship for the people of Pakistan and, which has also stymied economic growth of the country.

Also read: Loadshedding won't end by 2020: Nepra

It stated that for the next two years there would be no reduction expected in loadshedding in the country. Daily loadshedding remained high in 2013-14 and on an average there had been no electricity for 10 hours in Multan and Quetta while it was three hours in Gujranwala and Lahore while two hours in Karachi.

Supply of electricity to distribution companies of Punjab showed high growth, especially in the case of Gepco, Mepco, and Fesco. Some utilities saw a decline in supply, including Pesco (Peshawar), Hesco (Hyderabad), and Qesco (Quetta).

There had been no improvement in line losses from transmission and distribution of power. Total line losses remained at 18.5 per cent in 2013-14. Some distribution companies registered especially high line losses. For example, line loss in Sepco (Sukkur) was a high of 39 per cent.

Under recovery of bills remained another major concern as on the aggregate, Discos and K-Electric combined recovered 11 per cent less than the amount billed in 2013-14. While performance of Faisalabad and Lahore was good, Quetta recovered less than half of the amount billed. Consequently, total arrears due from consumers have increased by 25 per cent in 2013-14 to reach Rs513 billion. Of this, an amount of Rs313 billion was due from private consumers contributing to the circular debt.

Overcharging of bills became a special concern in 2013-14 as the number of complaints received from consumers increased to 3.4 million in number in 2013-14. Most of these pertained to overcharging. The highest incidence of complaints was in Karachi, Lahore, and Gujranwala.

The fact sheet recognised a modest increase of 550 MW in installed generation capacity in 2013-14. Most of the increase had been in thermal generation. Furnace oil as a fuel source had a share of 61 per cent in thermal generation. This has increased the country’s dependence on imported fuel for power generation, said the fact sheet.

Published in Dawn, February 27th, 2015

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