KARACHI: Power production increased 10% to hit an all-time high of 13,751 gigawatt hours (GWh) in July with additional production coming mainly from newly-established plants on imported gas and coal.

Power production stood at 12,497 GWh in the same month last year, reported the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra).

“(This is) an all-time high power generation during July 2018,” Arif Habib Limited’s analyst Rao Aamir Ali said in a note to clients.

A major boost in production came from the recently setup plants on imported gas (Re-gasified Liquefied Natural Gas or RLNG) and coal. The new plants have added over 5,000 megawatt hours in the system. The cumulative production, however, did not exhibit the same growth due to plugs being pulled on several oil-based plants at the same time.

Production from imported gas (RLNG or Re-gasified Liquefied Natural Gas) and the one produced locally surged to 39% (5,416 GWh) in total generation during the month. Production from the two gases stood at 3,660 GWh (26%) in the same month last year, according to Nepra.

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“The share of RLNG has increased by 12 percentage points year-on-year to 24.5% in July 2018 compared to 12.1% in July 2017,” the analyst said.

The RLNG-based production grew 6.3% month-on-month (in July). “Pertinently, load factor of the following power plants clocked-in at Quaid-e-Azam Thermal Power (Private) Limited: 83%, Haveli Bahadur Shah: 85%, Baloki: 35% and combined load factor was 66%,” he said.

Production from imported coal-fired plants surged to 1,737 GWh (13%) compared to 368 GWh (3%) in the same month of last year, according to Nepra.

At the same time, production from hydel projects remained notably high at 3,892 GWh (or 28%) in the total generation in the month compared to 3,848 GWh (or 31%) in July 2017, as availability of water restored to normal in recent weeks.

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On the other hand, production from furnace oil-based plants dropped to 1,284 GWh (or 9.34%) in the total production in the month compared to 3,198.5 GWh (26%) in the same month last year. High speed diesel-based production declined to 11 GWh (0.08%) compared to 336 GWh (3%) in July 2017.

Fuel cost goes up

The fuel cost in power generation increased 13.3% on year-on-year basis to Rs5.32/kilowatt hour (kWh) compared to Rs4.69/kWh in July 2017.

“The increase in fuel cost on coal-based generation was on account of 30% increase in coal prices. Whereas, FO-based fuel cost ticked higher amid 73% increase in FO prices,” Ali said.

Breakup suggests the cost of production on furnace oil increased 46% to Rs13.55/kWh, 29% on coal-based generation to Rs6.03/kWh and 15% on RLNG-fired production to Rs9.72/kWh.