ISLAMABAD: Electricity shortfall closed at around 5,000MW on Wednesday as rising temperatures pushed demand beyond 21,200MW against the maximum generation of 16,548MW.

The ministry of water and power claimed that it had achieved the highest-ever generation record of 17,120MW on Wednesday evening against the previous record of 16,866MW last year. The shortfall at 7:00pm was less than 900MW when demand stood at 17,900MW.

The minister claimed that there was no forced or unannounced loadshedding anywhere in the country, but requested the consumers to avoid using air-conditioners at Iftar and Sehr to help stabilise power supply.

The Islamabad Electric Supply Company, however, kept issuing frequent updates about power breakdowns in some parts of Rawalpindi like Chaklala and Koral, near Benazir Bhutto International Airport, Islamabad, because of operational difficulties.

Likewise, consumers of the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) faced long power disruptions in the first two days of the fasting month. As a consequence, the original pre-Ramazan loadshedding schedule was restored, said a power ministry official.

Pesco consumers complained that against three hours of uninterrupted supply at Taraweeh, Iftar and Sehr, power disruption timings had been increased to 14-18 hours a day. The official said it was because the recovery rate in some areas was very low.

Water and Power Minister Khwaja Mohammad Asif said maximum generation on Wednesday morning was 15,829MW against a demand of 19,787MW, leaving a shortfall of 3,950MW. The situation changed at around midday when generation went up to 16,548MW against a demand of 21,153MW, leaving a shortfall of 4,605MW, he said.

Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali informed the National Assembly that there was no unannounced or forced loadshedding anywhere in the country.

In reply to a call-attention notice of Mian Attique Shaikh, the minister said longer loadshedding was only being applied in areas where the recovery rate was low. Loadshedding could go up to 18 hours in areas where the recovery rate was less than 60 per cent, he said.

Separately, the ministry said it was making all-out efforts to provide maximum relief to domestic consumers, especially at Sehr, Iftar and Taraweeh, despite unprecedented heatwave across the country with temperatures crossing 52 degrees Celsius.

It said that before Ramazan, a rehearsal was conducted from the evening of June 6 to divert power supply from industrial areas to domestic and commercial consumers. Industrial feeders were closed to provide uninterrupted power supply to domestic consumers and supply to 95pc of urban and 80pc rural areas was ensured.

On Tuesday, power supply was 97pc to urban areas and 85pc to rural areas at Sehr and 96pc to urban areas and 80pc to rural areas at Iftar with zero loadshedding.

On Wednesday, 97pc of urban areas and 90pc of rural areas were provided uninterrupted power supply at Sehr.

“There is no unannounced loadshedding in the country,” said the ministry. Electricity supply at Sehr, Iftar and Taraweeh was being monitored directly by Water and Power Secretary Younas Dagha.

The ministry said the situation was under control so far with maximum supply to domestic consumers, but due to severe heatwave and other technical issues, some faults might occur at local level leading to temporary disruption of electricity supply to any particular locality.

It said all distribution companies had formed special teams to rectify faults on an emergency basis. The Federal Complaint Cell at the ministry was also working round-the-clock to redress complaints across the country. The consumers could register their complaints at 051-9103888, 051-9206834 and 051-9204430.

The ministry urged consumers to adopt energy conservation measures and avoid wastage of electricity, particularly by minimising the use of air-conditioners at Sehr and Iftar so that maximum relief could be provided to them.

Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2016

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