Slight dip in shortfall as energy crunch persists

Power plants still remain hobbled by low fuel inventory as daily blackouts continue


Zaigham Naqvi May 01, 2022
Photo: File

ISLAMABAD:

Amid the government’s efforts to plug the power shortfall, a slight reduction in the deficit witnessed on Saturday nonetheless fell short of meeting the leap in demand as sweltering heatwave swept across the country.

The total shortfall which was hovering between 7,000 and 8,500 megawatts for days slumped to 7,700MW — a 'silver lining' that means little as power plants remain hobbled by low fuel inventory.

Meanwhile, daily blackouts continued to plunge consumers in many parts of the country into darkness.

Sources in the Power Division said that the incomplete restoration of fuel supply failed to yield enough power generation to meet the demands and as a result, unscheduled load-shedding persisted without fail.

At present, the demand for electricity in the country is 25,822MW whereas the production is only 18,101MW.

According to the details, 3,216MW of electricity was being generated from hydropower sources while 10,030MW was squeezed from private sector power plants.

Read Power plants to get ‘RLNG, furnace oil from May’

On the other hand, the government’s thermal power plants are generating only 793 megawatts of electricity.

Meanwhile, load-shedding will decrease by 50 per cent in most parts of the country from May 1 owing to the addition of 2,000 MW into the system. The load-shedding would further gradually decrease in most parts of the country except feeders of low recovery, a Power Ministry spokesperson said Saturday.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif assured that the power crisis would be tamed from May 1 (today). However, the assurances have not yet shown results as consumers complained of 12-hour load-shedding in major cities with 18-hour power outages hitting rural areas of the country.

Speaking at what was his first news conference after taking charge as the federal minister for energy on Friday, Khurram Dastagir put the blame on the former ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for the current crisis, saying the previous government had failed to arrange the fuel for power plants.

However, the minister assured that the power plants would start getting RLNG supply from May 1 and the required quantity of furnace oil from May 2 to boost power production.

The minister announced reducing the duration of load-shedding to half in the next 10 days.

However, he added the government would require an amount of Rs108 billion till May 25, Rs136 billion till June 7 and Rs85 billion till June 15 for the power sector to address the issue of load-shedding.

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