Major Pakistani cities like Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta witnessed a complete power blackout.
Major Pakistani cities like Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta witnessed a complete power blackout.

Power generation reduced to 7,000MW against demand of 14,000MW; situation leads to 15-20 hours loadshedding in some areas

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan suddenly plunged into darkness late on Saturday night following a major power breakdown. Most of the country’s cities, including Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta, witnessed a huge blackout.

The tripping of the Guddu power plant’s transmission lines affected the 500KW power line from the national grid forcing the Jamshoro and Bin Qasim power stations to shut down.

More that 70 percent of Karachi was in darkness after a sudden power failure struck the country’s industrial capital.

According to a report, in Balochistan 17 districts suffered a sudden power breakdown.

According to the Quetta Electric Supply Company (Qesco) officials, the transmission lines from Guddu to Quetta tripped.

Power supply to Quetta and 16 other districts in the province have been suspended as a result of the technical fault. However, this could not be verified by independent sources.

Qesco officials said that the 220KW transmission line was abruptly suspended. The affected districts included Pishin, Khuzdar, Mastung, Kalat, Sibi, Bolan and other adjoining areas.

According to sources, the country’s power crisis would be exacerbated as a result of the acute shortage of furnace oil and the country is facing 15-20 hours loadshedding.

Khalid Mustafa adds: Meanwhile, Pakistan is likely to face the worst power deficit and a blackout-like situation in the wake of the acute shortage of furnace oil, unveil the documents of the Ministry of Water and Power (MoW&P) exclusively available with The News.

Power outages have increased to 15 hours in many urban centres and 20 hours in some rural areas as the power deficit has gone up to 7,000MW. The demand of the country stands at 14,000MW whereas generation stands at only 7,000MW. Inefficiency and the worst kind of governance in the MoW&P continues to haunt the 190 million people of the country. The circular debt has risen to Rs300 billion and its receivables have touched the staggering figure of Rs590 billion.

The MoW&P failed to pay the dues of PSO amounting to Rs171 billion owing to which the state-owned oil marketing company has financially nose-dived and collapsed and is now unable to import furnace oil on its own. In Pakistan, the energy crisis dents the GDP of the country by 2-3 percent every year and the IMF and World Bank have also mentioned in their latest reports that Pakistan is feared not to achieve the target of GDP growth this year mainly because of the power crisis. Textile exports have also dipped by 6 percent.

The Ministry of Water and Power, however, keeps on claiming that there is no shortage of fuel at all in the country and there will be no increase in power outages. When The News and daily Jang broke the story in the edition of January 21 as its main lead with the headline “Power outages to worsen after fuel crisis”, the top management of the MoW&P got furious and issued a rebuttal, falsely claiming that the country has abundant furnace oil and there will be no shortage of electricity.

This clearly shows how ministries and government departments mislead and fool not only the masses but even the top man in the government. The spokesman of the ministry became irritated to appease his secretary, but the truth ultimately prevails. The fact is that the country has started experiencing a massive hike in power outages. However, a spokesman of the ministry again claimed that load management will improve from Saturday evening to six hours in the urban, and nine hours in the rural areas and load shedding for the industrial sector will the reduced by four hours. He also said that power outages will further reduce in the rural areas to eight hours and in the industrial areas to zero from Tuesday.

However, the latest document of the MoW&P with the subject “Handling of furnace oil issues” available with The News, corroborates the disclosures that The News made in its edition of January 21. The spokesman confirmed that the ministry wrote this letter to the secretary to the PM informing him about the power crisis. But he insisted that from Tuesday, furnace oil availability will improve and load shedding will the reduced. He also said that electricity production stands at 9,200 MW at will further increase. However, the document says that the country has been exposed to an acute dearth of furnace oil and its shortage has increased manifold because of the appalling financial health of Pakistan State Oil. In the wake of this very factor, the country is feared to face power outages of an unprecedented level, the document says. The document also says that the power crisis has been further aggravated on account of the closure of canals causing a massive reduction of hydro generation by up to 1,000 MW so much so that zero gas supply to power plants has also resulted in a massive surge in power outages.

The thermal power generation based on diesel has tremendously reduced and the electricity generation by the Jamshoro power plant has fallen from 570 MW to just 170MW. Likewise, electricity generation by the Muzzafargarh plant has also plunged from 700 MW to just 360 MW. Power production by Hubco and Kapco has also gone down by 1,300 MW to just 1,051 MW. On top of that, the Faisalabad power plant is non-operational due to the non-availability of furnace oil.

The official document of the MoW&P also confirms that domestic refineries are unable to meet the furnace oil requirements of the power sector. The report says that the Ministry of Water and Power has decided to first pay Rs24 billion to PSO to purchase 12 cargoes of furnace oil. However, the power sector, according to the document, currently faces a huge deficit of Rs30 billion in purchasing the required furnace oil to increase power generation.–The News International



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