Partly due to the election 2018 campaign, and partly due to the governmentâ€™s claims of robustly working towards adding additional megawatts to the grid, the summer of 2017 was hoped to be better than previous years in term of load shedding. However, things have proven contrary in just the beginning.
Power shortage escalated as March 2017 approached its close; with summer around the corner, the shortfall figures being reported from all sides range from 3,000-6,000MW. However, Water and Power Minister, Khawaja Asif has reportedly given a hope for a better situation by the end of April 2017.
Sources close to BR Research highlight some key factors that have led to increased load shedding hours. Increased demand of around 2000 MW has largely been due to a sudden increase in temperatures, which has also been quoted as the governmentâ€™s first response to the load shedding clamour. As of now, load shedding hours range from 4-8 hours in urban areas, and 10-15 hours in rural areas, which are higher than what they were at the same time last year.
Another important factor that has led to the increase in power shortfall is the timelines of power generation projects; experts say that the lack of coordination between the generation and transmission, and highly optimistic targets have contributed to the aggravated situations as the government did not foresee increase in demand as early as March.
There is no coherence in numbers being quoted, and in the absence of a regular dissemination of public data, things will remain cloudy and people will have no choice but to believe what is being bombarded offhandedly. The latest are the figures reported by a private TV channel where they quoted the national power control centre: Power shortfall has hit 5,500 MW with 16,500 MW total demand against total current production of 10,500 MW; Gencos are reportedly generating around 3,000 MW, while IPPs are producing over 5,000 MW; the largest decrease witnessed in the power generation has come from the hydel sector where generation has slipped to around 1,900 MW from 7,000 MW.
There are voices of 4,000-4,500 MW of power supply being made available to the system by the end of the month; CNG sector too has been stopped the supply of LNG, which will now likely be diverted to the power sector. Whether or not the government is able to add the promised megawatts to the national grid, one will have to wait and see. However, one thing is for sure; in the run-up to the elections, it will keep banking on quick fixes to the crisis.