ISLAMABAD: The government on Monday excluded high-loss areas from electricity demand estimates as the electricity shortfall continued to cause extensive power cuts across the country.

As a consequence, it also stopped the practice of releasing the energy demand-and-supply position that it started about a fortnight ago when the last heat wave subsided.

The circulation of the demand-and-supply position on data boards installed at public places, like the corridors of the power ministry by the USAID, was suspended in the middle of the heat wave last year. It started sharing the data with the media three times a day when temperatures rose on Sunday.

In a statement, the Water and Power Ministry said transformation, transmission and distribution should not be accounted for in the power supply and on the other hand suppressed demand minus high-loss areas and constraints should not be taken into account for demand assessment.

“If for any calculation transmission and distribution losses are to be deducted, demand for high-loss and constraint areas also needs to be deducted for fair judgement of the scenario,” the statement said.

The ministry said electricity distribution across the country was managed according to the announced schedule despite severe heat wave.

It repeated the claim that “not a single megawatt of forced loadshedding was conducted in the entire country despite a steep rise in demand.”

Informed sources, however, said the indicative electricity demand remained almost unchanged at about 21,000MW like it was on Sunday at 8pm.

Generation peaked to 16,040MW, leaving a gap of about 5,000MW, averaging a countrywide supply gap of almost seven and a half hours. After accounting for transformation and transmission losses of 7 per cent, the gap exceeded 6,000MW on Monday.

An official explained that the government has always been showing suppressed demand to show lower gaps and parking the deficit supply in far-flung and rural parts of the country as ‘high-loss areas’.

He said as a matter of principle electricity not being supplied to any consumer for any period of time irrespective of the reason meant there was unmet electricity demand for any commercial, political or economic reason. “There could be many justified reasons for disrupting power supply to a consumer but this should not suppress the demand number,” he added.

The power ministry statement said the overall system demand of the government also showed demand for high-loss areas and areas with constraints. “The distribution companies (Discos) have a different schedule for the high-loss areas” and, therefore, their demand side should not hold ground in the overall demand.

The ministry said all Discos were efficiently managing the load distribution. Special teams have been formed to conduct immediate operations for the restoration of electricity in the case of local faults.

It said Discos had announced their schedule accordingly at the local level. The complaint centres have also been reinvigorated for immediate redressal of public complaints while officials at the ministry, National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC), National Power Control Centre (NPCC) and all Discos were monitoring the electricity situation closely.

Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2017



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