LAHORE: The shortfall of electricity in the country surged to 5,000MW on Saturday after the total demand soared to 18,000MW against a production of 13,000MW.

The large gap between supply and demand, which has been persisting for the last several days, forced the power distribution com­panies (Discos) to allow unscheduled outages of two to four hours in addition to the announced loadshedding of four hours in the urban and six hours in the rural areas across the country.

Summing up the situation in power sector, a senior ministry official said: “Now that forced shutdowns are being carried out on all feeders regardless of losses or theft there... the government, rather than making tall claims, should muster the courage to tell the nation that things would improve after some months and not anytime soon.”

He was of the opinion that instead of going for unannounced outages, the government should inc­rease the hours of scheduled or announced loadshedding because doing so would save it from considerable embarrassment.

According to another official, the authorities are making preparations for the holy month of Ramazan, as two power plants of about 2,000MW have been shut down for maintenance. The plants could not be closed due to low hydel generation from November to February. “That’s why the situation is particularly bad nowadays.”

He said the situation would improve after April 25 as generation by hydel plants would increase and the two aforesaid plants would also resume production.

The National Power Control Centre confirmed that the gap between demand and supply incr­eased to 5,000MW on Saturday.

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2017

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