LAHORE - Rasul Khan Mahsud, Managing Director of Pepco/NTDCL, has said that electricity loadshedding is not going to end soon. He also urged the power consumers not to pin their hopes so high on political statements regarding end to loadshedding.
Talking to The Nation on Monday, he, however, stated that duration of loadshedding hours would decrease within a week. He said that he could not befool people rather he would prefer to talk about the ground realities. Rasul Khan said that fuel supply to power plants would become better within a week or so and about 4,000mw was expected from the power plants of KEPCO and HUBCO within five to seven days. ‘You will feel almost minimum loadshedding within a week’, he added.
Meanwhile, reports are surfacing that the PPP government is making strategy to win hearts and minds of helpless citizens to ensure no electricity loadshedding in fast approaching sizzling heat as it appeared to be gearing up for the upcoming polls.
It is expected that the power tariff may be frozen at the current level while billions of rupees would be borrowed from banks to pay off the circular debt so that IPPs run their plants at capacity. The PEPCO has also added almost 3,000 mw in energy basket in recent years.
Power managers speaking on the condition of anonymity claim that countrywide consumer will face about 4,000mw shortfall in coming summer season while currently the countrywide consumers are facing 14 to 16 hours average shutdown in urban and rural areas.
A local TV also reported Mahsud as saying that loadshedding would not end soon. ‘Loadshedding cannot be eliminated under the current circumstances’, he said while talking to the media in context of Water and Power Minister’s statement regarding the elimination of loadshedding. ‘I was astonished when I heard this news’, said PEPCO MD.
Severe loadshedding has been hitting hard the countrywide power consumers. Sources told that peak sharing from all the power producing units was standing at 9,000mw against the demand of 14,000mw.
The total dependence is on the hydel generation which is 4,800mw, almost double of these days last year’s generation of 2,100mw, thanks to the better outflow of water from major dams. The consumers of the major cities of the country, including Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi and others were facing 10 to 12 hours shutdown while the people of the rural areas were under the grip of more than 15 hours blackout.
The situation in Balochistan, interior Sindh, Southern Punjab and remote areas of Khyber PK was reportedly horrible where the concerned grids of Power Distribution Companies (DISCOs) were ordered to conduct about 16-hours loadshedding.
Protest demos were also reportedly held in some areas of the country against the worst electricity crisis.
The grid stations of Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) in Lahore were conducting two to three hours spell of outages after every two hours.
People were facing severe shortages of water in some portion of the provincial metropolis and the City’s life has almost become paralysed due to long hours cut in electricity supply.
The SDOs, XENs and staff at the grid stations of the LESCO were even not bothering to attend the phone calls of the people who wanted to know about the situation.
This was learnt that severe fuel and gas shortage hampering power generation of the IPPs, GENCOs and almost 19 power plants were off.
Failure to maintain government run thermal units were also sharing a considerable portion of the total shortfall.
According to the sources, Jamshoro thermal unit of 700 mw capability, GTPS Muzaffargarh of 1130 mw capacity, 1,155 mw Guddu power plant, combined cycle plant in Faisalabad of 200 mw capacity and other power units were out of fuel while thermal generation has dropped to below 1,000 mw against total capacity of around 3,580 mw.
All the IPPs, RPPs and GENCOs were sharing about 4,500 mw to the national grid about less than 40 per cent of the capacity.