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Power shortfall touches 8,500MW

September 26, 2011


When asked to comment on reduced oil supplies, a PSO spokesperson squarely held Pepco responsible to its financial woes. - File photo



LAHORE: With payments to smaller IPPs and Pakistan State Oil delayed beyond official commitments and oil crunch hitting power generation, the Pepco's planned loadshedding on Monday shot over 6,000MW which is 33 per cent of the total demand.

Apart from planned loadshedding, the Pepco people also concede “unplanned management” of 2,000MW to 2,500MW for the last 48 hours thus taking total shortfall to 8,000MW to 8,500MW.

With this kind of deficit, over 40 per cent Pakistan is without power at any given moment in 24 hours, admitted a company official. It is total chaos in the company; all nine distribution companies are blaming National Power Control Centre for switching off supplies without any warning and planning.

The NPCC blames dip in generation and holds Pepco responsible for it. The Pepco, on its part, shifts the blame on Pakistan State Oil for reducing furnace oil supplies. The PSO asks for payments and dues, which have gone into hundreds of billions of rupees. The proverbial buck, thus, does not stop anywhere, he lamented.

Commenting on the situation, Director General (Energy Management) Pepco, Ejaz Rafiq Qureshi agreed that the “situation has become worrying for the company, because of grossly reduced oil and gas supplies.”

On Sunday, the company received only 11,500 tons of furnace oil against total requirement of around 36,000 tons. As if it was not enough for the company, it received only 799 million cubic feet a day (mmdfd) against a committed supply of 1,076mmcfd.Against promised additional supply of 183mmcf gas, it got only 123mmcfd. The cumulative effect of this reduction is gross deficit of electricity in the country, he claimed.

About particulars of plants directly affected by the reduction, he said that the entire system has been impacted. “If a 225MW plant is generating 70MW, and that too for a few hours, I have no idea whether to keep the plant running or shut,” he wondered.

Hubco is producing 500MW against total capacity of 1,200MW. The Kapco is producing only 300MW against 1,450MW. In such a situation, one can imagine the company crisis, he concluded.

The power sector experts, however, term the situation result of “total mismanagement,” which has taken better of the company and the sector. “With over 3,400MW added to the system in the last three years and 67 per cent increase in the tariff, apart from monthly fuel adjustment charges passed on to the consumers on average, over 20 per cent increase only a stupendous level of mismanagement can take the sector and company where they stand now, says a former managing director of the Pepco.

During the last year alone, the tariff has gone up by 18 per cent. Where are the company's collections going if neither the IPPs nor the fuel is paid? The smaller IPPs are claiming Rs150 billion. The PSO is asking for Rs130 billion. Where has all the money gone? The government needs to find it out.

When asked to comment on reduced oil supplies, a PSO spokesperson squarely held Pepco responsible to its financial woes. “The company has defaulted on domestic payments, and barely avoided international default by borrowing money from banks because international default could have affected the state; all because of Pepco. The company now owes Rs135 billion to the PSO. Out of monthly bill of Rs32 billion, it does not pay more than Rs10 billion, with the rest going in dues?