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ISLAMABAD: National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) has taken serious notice of countrywide power load shedding with an approximate shortfall of up to 6,500MW in the system which includes revenue-based load shedding of 5000MW and routine load management of 1500MW.

Well-informed sources told Business Recorder that the key reason behind current load shedding is "unprofessional management" not only at the level of Power Division

but also in power Distribution Companies (Discos) and unbalanced and unreliable generation basket.

The sources added that expensive public sector power Generation Companies (Gencos) of 4,800MW have been shut down by the government, adding that only two plants - Nandipur power plant and 747MW Guddu Power Plant of 1200MW – are available if gas is made available.

The three RLNG-based power plants, M/s Bhikki power plant, Balloki Power Plant and Haveli Bahadar Shah are operating below capacity due to non-availability of the required RLNG.

The sources said the IPPs established under the Power Policy 1994 and pre-1994 policy were paid 40 percent of the agreed amount against revised Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) last week and these payments would be used first to pay creditors and shareholders’ instead of purchasing fuel.

The power plants established under the Power Policy 2002 have not yet been paid 40 percent of the agreed amount due to an ongoing investigation by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). Those 12 plants are also facing issues in the purchase of fuel for power generation.

According to Ministry of Energy, 3300MW less electricity is being generated from Tarbela and Mangla due to a reduction in inflows. Wapda releases water from reservoirs as indents of provinces.

A spokesperson for Ministry of Energy stated that total system demand is around 24,100MW whereas generation stands at 22,600MW, thereby acknowledging a shortfall of 1,500MW.

Sources further said that revenue-based load shedding of about 5,000MW is being carried out across Discos especially in Hesco, Sepco, Qesco, Sepco, Tesco, Lesco and Mepco. In some areas load shedding duration is between 4 and 20 hours.

Nepra had granted licences and tariff to 13 of the cheapest renewable energy projects at 3.4 cents per unit but the government's power sector policymakers blocked approval of these projects by arguing that the country would then face a capacity trap.

Nepra, in an official statement, said that it has taken serious note of excessive load shedding faced by the consumers throughout Pakistan due to which the public is suffering heavily in the simmering heat.

All the Discos, including KE, under the relevant provisions of their licences are obligated to provide uninterrupted and reliable power supply to the consumers. Therefore, to explore the actual reasons and to address it, Nepra Authority has directed the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of all Discos and KE to appear before the Authority on June 11, 2021 at 9.30am and apprise them of the actual causes and remedial measures taken by them to eliminate excessive load-shedding.

Meanwhile Minister for Energy, Hammad Azhar, has said that an average shortfall of 1000 MW has arisen since last 48 hours due to rehabilitation in a major hydel plant and outages in a few thermal plants.

Tarbela will be back online in 4 to 6 days (3,000MW) and efforts are being made to add 1,100MW from alternative plants by last night (Wednesday night) to plug the shortfall, he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021