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Power shortfall now 7,200MW

May 03, 2011

The electricity shortfall increased because of the oil squeeze.—AFP photo

LAHORE: The electricity shortfall shot beyond a whopping 7,200MW on Tuesday as PSO’s furnace oil import got delayed by two days, creating an over 2,000MW generation hole in the Pepco system.

According to the Pakistan Electric Power Company, shortfall because of the oil squeeze included 500MW at Kapco, 600MW at Hubco and almost 700MW at Jamshoro.

Apart from these major plants, the ship-mounted Karkey (232MW) stopped operation because it did not have oil and the Faisalabad Combined Cycle Units (210MW) neither had gas nor money to purchase diesel.

The Japan Power Plant saw its contribution dipping to a paltry 24MW against its capacity of 107MW and Sapcol generated 50MW against its 110MW capacity.

The Pakistan State Oil had run out of furnace oil stock on May 1 and was expecting a shipload of oil the same day. But the ship got delayed for two days, creating a severe crisis for Pepco. Towards the end of last month, PSO supplied only 10,000 tons of oil against a requirement of 36,000 tons.

The government, however, arranged furnace oil for three days as an emergency measure, but the shortfall rose to around 7,200MW on Monday and Tuesday.

According to the owner of an independent power producer (IPP), the PSO ship had docked at Karachi on Tuesday afternoon and the oil supply crisis was likely to ease in a couple of days.

Apart from the reduction in oil supply, insufficient gas supplies have caused a drop of 836MW in power generation.

According to a Pepco official, four of its plants -- Orient, Saif, Roche and Sapphire -- are getting only 31 million cubic feet per day (MMcfd) each against their quota of 38MMcfd. The Guddu power station is getting 200MMcfd against its quota of 290MMcfd.

“Even major cities are suffering a loadshedding of 10 to 12 hours,” an official said. There is no schedule for rural feeders where electricity is cut for even up to 18 hours.

He said that though the shortfall was just below 50 per cent of the demand, the company had to maintain certain exemptions that prolonged the loadshedding schedule in rural areas.

Pepco Managing Director Rasool Khan Mehsud apologised to the nation for the long loadshedding hours. “It is not a crisis only of electricity, but of energy, worsened by management problems,” he said at a press conference.

He said loadshedding had increased because of an oil and gas crisis, expressing the hope that it would ease over the next 48 hours.

“Pepco is also facing loadshedding with the rest of the nation,” the MD quipped when electricity went off during the press conference.