Avoidable load-shedding

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THE menace of load-shedding that had become a thing of the past only recently has once again become a source of serious concern for people of Pakistan, who are forced to suffer due to long outages amid scorching heat and humid conditions.

All independent accounts clearly show that the load-shedding is the offshoot of the mismanagement in the supply of fuel to the power plants that are unable to operate at their full capacity because of shortage of LNG and furnace oil.

The ongoing load-shedding is a classic example of bad management and calls for proper but prompt revision of the planning and decision-making processes in the relevant ministries and institutions.

The worst aspect of the entire episode is that the capacity is there but the country is unable to tap it because of a state of indecision.

This is evident from credible media reports that LNG tenders for two-vessel deliveries in second and third weeks of July were cancelled at the rate of $11.77 and $11.66 per MMBTU (million British thermal units) and one of them was given to the same party after four days at $12.78 per MMBTU and one vessel was missed altogether.

As a result of this the power companies were getting 740mmcfd (million cubic feet per day) of LNG against a firm demand of 950mmcfd until Saturday, which was increased to 780mmcfd on Sunday with some adjustments here and there as gas supplies to the CNG sector and general industry in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were closed.

Similarly, timely decisions were not taken for procurement of required quantities of furnace oil.

All this is pathetic as the country had become surplus in power generation – thanks to the speedy completion of several power plants under the early harvest programme of the CPEC besides substantial addition of nuclear power to the national grid.

A number of hydro-power projects are also in different stages of implementation and plans are there for import of electricity from Central Asia but fate of the people would remain unchanged as far as load-shedding is concerned until and unless management is improved and plans are implemented on a fast track basis for upgradation of transmission and distribution system.

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