Electricity/ Power: Pakistan

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Electricity/ power

Power shortage rises to 3,000MW

By Ahmad Fraz Khan


LAHORE, May 1, 2008: Power shortage in the country increased to 3,000 megawatts on Thursday as supply dropped to about 11,500MW against a demand of 14,500MW.

Officials of the Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) attributed the shortage to a substantial drop in hydel generation. They said the hydel source last year had contributed over 5,000MW for 20 hours a day. Its contribution declined to 3,500MW on Thursday and that too only for five hours, they added.

“Pepco is surviving on independent power producers (IPPs) and its own thermal generation for almost 20 hours and concentrating all hydel generation during the peak hours -- 6pm to 10pm,” the officials said.

Giving details about Thursday’s generation, Tahir Basharat Cheema, director general of Pepco for energy conservation, said IPPs generated 4,800MW, company’s own thermal units a record 3,130MW, hydel source 3,500MW and rental units 130MW. The total generation was 11,560MW against the demand of 14,560MW.

The water level in Tarbela Dam is around 60 feet below last year’s level. For power generation, the height counts more than the quantity of water.

The drop in water height had cost Pepco dearly, bringing the generation from 5,000MW for 20 hours to 3,500 for five hours, Mr Cheema said.

“These are 24-hour average figures,” said an official of the power wing of Wapda. The situation kept both improving and worsening, he said, adding that the fluctuation generated conflicting reports in the media.

“The media picture depends on a particular point of time which forms the benchmark; at one point of time during the peak hours, the deficit may go up to 3,500MW or even more for a few minutes before returning to normal shortage.

“If one takes that peak as a reference point, the picture may change drastically. Otherwise, the entire generation and distribution is computerised and could be calculated to the last units,” he said.

There was no denying that the country was facing its worst energy crisis, but the company could hardly cheat on figures beyond a point, he added.

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