ISLAMABAD: Even though 10 distribution companies (Discos) of ex-Wapda faced over 7,440MW of shortfall on Monday, the government claimed the shortage was about 4,000MW and promised to reduce the prevailing four-hour power outages by half an hour within 24 hours.
Speaking at a joint news conference with ministers for information, power and petroleum, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the government had taken steps that would reduce power shortfall to three-and-a-half hours by Tuesday.
He blamed the previous government for all the ills impacting the energy sector and economy at present because of corruption, inefficiency and mismanagement.
The demand at present is about 25,000MW while total power generation is about 21,000MW, a shortfall of 4000MW or about four hours of loadshedding.
Abbasi claims steps taken to bring down loadshedding duration by 30 mins ‘from today’
“Today, we have taken decisions for additional funds and arranged some additional fuel to bring down loadshedding to three-and-a-half hours by tomorrow (Tuesday) and to less than three hours by June 16,” Mr Abbasi said.
In the next phase by June 30, he added, the loadshedding duration would be further brought down to less than one-and-a-half hours and the government would ensure its management in a way that people are not affected adversely.
Official data available with Dawn, however, suggests that total gap between power demand and supply has remained higher than 7,000MW since June 1 and stood at 7,440Mw on Monday afternoon. Of this, generation shortfall stood at 4,686MW for all 10 Discos, while another 2,760MW of shortfall was applied to high-loss areas. Demand stood at 28,066MW against maximum supply of 20,621MW.
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who leads an informal task force on energy comprising energy sector divisions and relating agencies, said the situation would not have been so bad today had the previous government taken timely decisions.
Imran Khan and his ministers were responsible for the present situation, he added. “They could not add a single megawatt of electricity. They could not complete projects that were in implementation phase and failed to sign contracts for LNG when it was at the lowest ebb,” he said, adding that the only saving grace at present were the contracts with Qatar for which PML-N leaders were jailed and proceeded against.
He said when the current government came to power, the electricity generation capacity was at 17,000MW which was increased to more than 21,000MW over the past three weeks. “Now we have a deficit of 4000MW.”
Mr Abbasi apologised to the people for the current loadshedding on behalf of the government and cabinet, but asked for some time to resolve the issue.
He said Pakistan was unable to meet its power demand in summer despite running less efficient power plants which no other country in the world could afford to operate. “Efficiency of some of them is too low and the cost of generation is too high but are being operated to meet the demand,” he added.
Two big efficient power plants — 1,200MW on LNG at Trimmu, and 1,200MW coal power plant at Thar — were due for completion in 2019 and 2020, respectively, but could not completed till today, he added.
Not a single unit was added to the national grid during the previous government, the PMLN leader said, adding that no new LNG agreement was signed. It is a bad luck for the country that the LNG ship, which used to cost $30 million under “our contracts are being purchased at $110m now”.
“It’s a long story of negligence, of corruption and incompetence. We are trying to resolve the issues,” he said, adding that inefficient thermal power was costing Rs60 per unit, but electricity was being delivered to consumers at Rs15 per unit.
Responding to a question on petroleum products prices, Mr Abbasi said the incumbent government was not charging a single penny tax on petroleum products at the moment. Till the reduction of oil prices in international market, they would be sold to the consumers at the purchasing price, he said.
Published in Dawn, June 7th, 2022