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LAHORE: Scheduled and forced loadshedding has resumed across the country after the hydel generation dropped to 2,700MW [on average] from 6,000MW due to reduction in water discharge by the Indus River System Authority (Irsa).

Though the power distribution companies (Discos) claim to have observed a scheduled loadshedding of two hours in urban and four hours in rural areas, consumers say they are witnessing four hours [suspension] in cities and up to eight hours in villages.

“After a considerable relief, the loadshedding has started again. At present we are witnessing loadshedding for about four hours for the last three days,” said Saeed Ahmad, a resident of a housing society located on Raiwind Road.

“The residents in the area where I own a piece of agriculture land in Kasur are facing about eight hours loadshedding these days,” he added.

The hydel generation, which was over 6,000MW sometime ago, now ranges between 2,700MW and 3,000MW on average. “During the last 24 hours, the hydel peak generation touched the figure of 4,200MW. But on average, it remained at 2,700MW. So we can say it has reduced by 3,000MW,” said an official source in the ministry of energy (water division).

According to an official of the ministry of energy (power division), the country faces a shortfall of 2,500MW to 3,000MW. “On Thursday, the supply [generation] and demand stood 14,000MW and 17,000MW, respectively.” said the official who preferred anonymity.

“The 1,200MW Bhikki power plant is also closed these days as the routine maintenance is under way,” he added. However, an official of the Quaid-i-Azam Thermal Power Company - a Punjab government’s firm which deals with the affairs of the plant - said the plant would resume operation from today (Oct 20).

On the other hand, the national power control centre also reduced the electricity quota of all Discos.

“The power withdrawal quota of all Discos has been reduced following cut in hydel supply. Lesco is being supplied 2,500 to 2,600MW against 3,000MW demand,” said an official.

“At present we are observing loadshedding for two hours in urban and four hours in rural areas in Lahore, Okara, Kasur, Nankana and Sheikhupura,” the official claimed.

Talking to Dawn, Federal Secretary (Power Division) Yousuf Naseem Khokhar confirmed reduction in hydel generation, but claimed that loadshedding had been reduced.

“We have been facing reduction in hydel generation for the last 15 days as compared to last year. Though loadshedding is going on, we have reduced it to a minimum level. The situation will improve in November,” he said.

Published in Dawn, October 20th, 2017