LAHORE, Nov 7: Six to eight hours loadshedding returned to the cities and for even longer duration in the rural areas as fuel supply crisis hits many power generation plants, forcing them to go offline and pushing total deficit well beyond 3,000MW.
The day was relatively saved by the hydel component, which was still contributing over 3,450MW to the total output of 10,250WM during the day. The power managers claimed the generation would increase to 12,000MW against total demand of 15,000MW during the peak hours – between 7pm to 11pm. On Wednesday, Jamshoro Thermal Power Station was contributing 200MW against 810MW, Thermal Power Station Muzaffarabad was generating 370MW instead of 1,150MW and Kapco was covering only 65 per cent of its 1,342MW.
Similarly, Nishat (Lahore and Chunian plants) both having 200MW capacity each, were jointly contributing not more than 200MW because of fuel deficit. Similarly, Japan power (135MW), Saba Power (135MW), Sepcol (120MW) Hallmore (200MW) and Atlas Power remained closed for better part of the day. These plants were being run on alternative fuel and at much lower capacity. “The problem with the sector is bill collection which has dropped to 77 per cent,” says an official of the NTDC.
With the collection falling short by 23 per cent and other losses (auxiliary, transmission, distribution and theft) taking off another 25 per cent, reducing the space for financial maneuvering to just over 50 per cent, the official said.
No public sector entity could operate with this kind of financial loss, he said and added: “Though the effort now is riveted on increasing collection, but it is still to have any impact on the fuel supply. The campaign, in its current setting, looks designed to get media attention and political mileage rather than improving the sector. Thus, fuel supply would continue hitting the sector and would only have patches of relief – dotting a permanent crisis here and there,” he said.
Water and power secretary Nargis Sethi recently told the press that the sector was working only at 55 per cent efficiency. By that calculation, the Wednesday’s actual supplies were only 6,600MW instead of 12,000MW as claimed by the ministry, says a former member (power) of Wapda. Though these figures are not entirely credible, at least from professionals’ perspective, but they do indicate the kind of chaos the sector was in. Less collection, less fuel, less generation and increased loadshedding; that is what defines the sector right now and no one, even the newly inducted secretary, is denying this.
“To make the matter worse, the ministry has concentrated the control of the sector, throwing the professionals out. By doing so, it has deprived itself of professional advice and added to the chaos. The sector is now run by generalists and bureaucracy, only to ensure everything goes wrong. The loadshedding would only worsen in December when wheat sowing is complete and canals are closed for delisting. It would take off another 3,500MW, taking the total shortage to well over 50 per cent of national demand,” he said.