Lamentable power load-shedding

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DIFFERENT parts of the country are experiencing the worst kind of load-shedding these days, making life of the people miserable in the midst of rising mercury.

According to reports, the menace of continuous load-shedding is back and apart from people the economic activity is also badly affected by outages ranging from three to twenty hours a day.

The lamentable aspect of the entire episode is that the authorities have been forced to carry out load-shedding despite the fact that the country has a generation capacity of 29,000 MW, much more than the overall requirements of the country even during peak summer season.

Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar has tried to justify it claiming that the demand was high as industries were running at full throttle and that there was a drop in hydel-power generation due to fewer intakes in major water reservoirs.

However, the ground situation does not support his contention and justification as the country has adequate surplus capacity, which should have compensated the shortage caused by reduced hydel-power generation if there was not lack of planning and foresight.

Recently, some governmental authorities stated repeatedly that the circular debt situation deteriorated also because of hefty payments on account of capacity charges as power plants are to be paid even for the electricity they do not generate as the demand is less than the capacity.

It has also been argued that the Federal Government allowed supply of additional electricity to K-Electric because of surplus capacity.

In this backdrop, it is justifiably said that power units were forced to become idle due to shortage of RLNG as the government failed to take timely measures for its import.

The government also bears the responsibility for lack of progress on establishment of much-needed LNG terminals for reasons best known to planners and decision-makers.

It is also alleged that lapses on the gas front led to production of the most expensive power through diesel and furnace oil.

There is something seriously wrong with the planning and management of the power sector and as a consequence an energy surplus country is witnessing the worst kind of outages with consequences for much-needed economic activities and exports.

What an irony that as people were resenting the unexplained load-shedding, NEPRA has increased tariff for Discos by Rs 2.97 per unit from October 1 which would translate into a burden of Rs 135 billion on consumers.

 

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