Federal government on Wednesday expressed its fear that power load-shedding will continue due to system constraints and a low recovery in spite of surplus generation in the country by 2018.
These apprehensions were shared by Secretary Water and Power, Younus Dagha, during a meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Water and Power presided over by Senator Yaqoob Khan Nasar.
Presently, the installed capacity is 21,860 MW from all sources but de-rated capacity stands at 20,342MW. Maximum dispatch has been recorded at 17340 MW on June 19, 2016.
The government is working on a plan to add around 10,000 MW of electricity to the system by mid of 2018, totalling 40,000 MW. However, a number of power sector analysts disagree with the claim of the incumbent government.
Secretary Water and Power was visibly uncertain about zero load shedding in the country by 2018 despite tall claims of top political hierarchy of PML (N) government, citing system constraints and low recovery.
“I fear we will not be in a position to supply electricity to the consumers due to recovery issues and system constraints even if demand supply gap is filled with new generation by 2018,” Dagha added.
He cited the example of a couple of Indian states that have surplus generation and are exporting to neighbouring states but are unable to supply to their own consumers due to system constraints.
Senator Engineer Nauman Wazir Khattak proposed that the government should outsource the feeders to the private sector to improve recovery. However, Secretary Water and Power said it was not feasible.
The issue of load shedding in the country was also discussed in detail. Most of the Senators argued that electricity is not provided at the time of Iftar and Sehri despite tall claims by the government.
Secretary Water and Power responded that electricity is supplied in urban areas at the time of Iftar and Sehri but acknowledged that there is load shedding in rural areas at the time of Iftari and Sehri due to a demand and generation gap.
According to the presentation given to the Standing Committee when demand exceeds generation, frequency depreciates below 50 Hz and in order to maintain balance between demand and generation, load management has to be carried out.
Load management is carried out to maintain a balance between generation and demand otherwise system may undergo a major disturbance leading to a partial or total collapse.
The committee was informed that before Ramazan a six-hour load-shedding was implemented in urban areas and eight areas in rural areas whereas independent industries and mixed industries were exempted from load shedding.
During Ramazan urban areas are exempted from load shedding from 6:30 PM to Namaz-e-Fajr subject to availability of generation after giving relief to the consumers. This implies rural areas are being supplied after meeting the needs of cities.
All independent industrial consumers are shed from 6: 30 PM to Namaz-e-Fajr. All mixed industrial consumers are shed from 6:30 PM to Fajr.
According the Water and Power Ministry, total generation achieved from all sources including hydel, IPPs and Gencos, at any time, is then subtracted from the T&T losses of NTDC and Discos.
From this the 650 MW supplied to KE from the national grid is further subtracted after which remaining generation is distributed amongst all Discos against their real time demand of power requirement proportionately without any discrimination.
Distribution companies made their decisions regarding feeder-wise allocation depending upon the losses/theft on every feeder. Each Disco is entitled to the allocated shares. However, Pesco, Hesco and Qesco cannot draw their full allocation due to higher losses/ theft in some areas and low recovery of bills.
Senator Naumam Wazir, however, challenged the claims of officials, saying that NPCC has real time data of generation and distribution but not demand. Secretary Water and Power responded that NPCC has real time data of demand but it depends how the organisation uses that data.
Senator Nauman Wazir also sought update on the countrywide tripping which took several hours to restore electricity. The committee was informed that NTDC has installed A four-tier system to avert cascading effects of tripping.
He cited the example of recent tripping of Tarbela and Hubco which had a cascading effect of a few moments and all the systems remained active. An official of NPCC disclosed that at least seven times tripping has occurred after January 2016.
The Senators from KPK also raised the issue of prolonged load-shedding and enquired about the exact percentage of the provinces’ share in total generation.
The officials of NPCC informed the committee that there is no specific share of any province in generation, adding electricity is supplied to the Discos as per their demand and available generation which varies each minute.
CEO, Pesco informed the committee that Pesco is unable to utilise its entire share due to system constraints. He said a couple of new grid stations are being established to improve the transmission system and added that load shedding is being done in accordance with recovery.
Some areas in Peshawar are load shedding free because recovery in those areas is above 90 per cent. Senator Atta-ur-Rehman said that there is a wide difference between the claims of officials and on ground situation.
Chief Executive Quetta Electric Supply Company (Qesco) also acknowledged that the power utility is unable to take its entire share due to system constraints. The issue of agriculture tube-wells also came under discussion.
The committee decided to recommend to the government to convert agri tube-wells in Balochistan to solar system so that agriculturists get electricity throughout the day.
CEO stunned the entire standing committee by disclosing that recovery from one of the feeders near Dera Bugti was Rs 97 only.
Senator Daud Khan Achakzai who was critical of the government for not supplying electricity to Balochistan was told that some feeders are being controlled by the private people instead of Qesco. Senator Taj Haider suggested that a mechanism should be evolved to improve recovery but at the same time electricity should be provided to consumers.
Secretary Water and Power said that committees have been constituted in different districts of interior Sindh to improve recovery and pointed out shortcomings.
However, no improvement has been witnessed so far. He offered to hold a meeting with Chief Minister Sindh to evolve a recovery mechanism. The meeting was also attended by Senator Nisar Muhammed, Senator Ghaua Muhammad Khan Niazi, Senator Zafarullah Khan Dhandla and Senator Ahmad Hasan.