WEB DESK: Secretary Ministry of Water and Power, Younus Dagha has claimed that power generation has increased by 30-35 per cent during the last three years as compared to increase in demand of 4-5 per cent, showing a substantial reduction in demand-supply gap.
In an exclusive chat with Business Recorder, he maintained that there has been a significant growth in electricity production during 2015-16 as compared to the previous year which not only reduced the gap between demand and supply but also facilitated a reduction in load-shedding from 16 hours to 6-8 hours daily.
Dagha noted that the Prime Minister recently approved a load management plan for 2016-18 whereby load shedding would be reduced in urban areas from 6 hours to 3 hours daily and in rural areas from 8 hours to four hours, which means load shedding in rural areas will be around 7 hours daily.
However, areas where recovery is low or theft is high the load management plan would not be applicable.
Commenting on current unexpected load shedding duration, he said at present the temperature in Gujranwala, Faisalabad and Lahore is like in May due to a heatwave, which is unprecedented in October in Pakistan.
According to Secretary Water and Power, October and November are considered relaxed months with respect to demand of electricity, and thermal power plants are allowed to go for annual maintenance as these plants are again made fully operational by December and January due to canal closure.
“On one hand, several thermal power plants went on annual maintenance and on the other provinces lowered their water demand in October due to which hydel generation dropped drastically.
Both these factors have challenged the government’s power management,” he continued.
On Monday, Ministry Water and Power Ministry requested Indus Water System Authority (Irsa) to release some water from reservoirs early and delay the discharge mechanism at barrages like Chashma etc.
This step has increased hydel generation which has reduced load shedding duration, he added.
Usually demand declines by 5000MW in October each year, but this time demand increased by 5000MW due to the heatwave, Dagha stated, adding that 1500MW-2000MW electricity shortage was witnessed due to lower hydel generation and shutting down of thermal power plants for annual maintenance.
In reply to a question, he said that growth in demand of electricity has increased by 4-5 per cent per annum against growth in generation of around 30-35 per cent.
Sources added that Hubco’s 300MW plant, Muzzafargarh power, Saphire power plant and liberty power with a total generation of around 1000 MW, are again in operation.
The government has tailored plans to increase generation from existing level of 19000MW to 24,000MW by the end of 2018 which implies the country will be surplus in next 18 months.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is expected to inaugurate a number of projects this month which include 300MW coal-fired power plants established by Hubco and several small power projects.