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ISLAMABAD: The government has reportedly decided to continue minimum average monthly load shedding of three hours till December 2022 to avoid forex outflow on imported fuels, well informed sources told Business Recorder.

On Tuesday, power shortfall was recorded at 8911 MW, of which 6230 MW shortfall was on account of generation whereas 2681 MW was high loss/ ATC (recovery-based load shedding). This indicates that load shedding duration was in the range of 16-18 hours in rural areas.

According to sources, minimum weekly allocation of $ 25 million will be required in addition to $ 51.5 million allocations for debt servicing of imported coal power plants.

The government has also decided to import coal from Afghanistan, quality of which, according to an expert is also good, the sources said, adding that the government wants to use Afghan coal in Sahiwal coal-fired plant.

The government, sources said, has decided to enhance trucking capacity of coal transportation by operating the following border crossing points 24/7: (i) Torkham;(ii) Ghulam Khan; and (iii) Kharlachi. Afghan side has been requested to deploy more human resources on the three crossing points for 24/7 operation.

The required Gross Calorific Value (GCV) for Port Qasim power plant is 4200-5200 and GCV of Indonesian coal is 4500. China Hub Power’s required GCV is 5000-6000 for which South African coal is fit whose GCV is 5500. Sahiwal coal power plant’s required GCV is 5200-6300, which can use Afghanistan coal with 6000 GCV.

There will be no dispatch on HSD but following firm quantity of LNG allocation will be required till December: July- 2022, 384 MMCFD, August- 384 MMCFD, September- 399 MMCFD, October- 399 MMCFD, November-350 MCFD and December -150 MMCFD.

No respite in electricity load-shedding

The sources said, announced load shedding duration from July 1 to July 8, 2022 is expected to be between the range of 8 and 15 hours, after which it would be reduced to three hours for the rest of the month. This will be possible with weekly $ 50.5 million debt servicing of coal fired power plants and use of Afghan coal. Load shedding duration in August will be 3-5 hours, September 3.6 hours, October 2.8 hours and December 2.1 hours. National Power Control Centre (NPCC), an arm of National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC), has presented a bleak picture of fuel in July 2022, warning that non-availability of RLNG/ HSD will result in excessive load management in LESCO, FESCO and GEPCO.

The gravity of the situation was brought forth by Engineer, Sajjad Akhtar, General Manager (System Operation), NPCC in a letter to National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) and other concerned authorities. NPCC apprised that tentative RLNG allocation to power sector will be 700 MMCFD from June 27, 2022 and 385 MMCFD from July 1, 2022 against power sector demand of 870 MMCFD and 900 MMCFD for the months of June and July, respectively as informed by SNGPL.

The substantial reduction in RLNG allocation to power sector will result in exhaustive operation of power plants on alternate fuel, i.e., RFO/ HSD leading to excessive consumption of fuel along with additional load management to bridge the gap between supply and demand. Moreover, current fuel stock at different Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and public sector generation plants (GENCOs) is critically low as communicated by NPCC time and again. Furthermore, coal fired power plants on imported coal, i.e., China Hub, Port Qasim and Sahiwal Coal are being operated at part load for conservation of coal stock due to various factors like lack of funding, foreign exchange reserves for procurement/supply of imported fuel etc.

According to NPCC the cumulative Monthly Production Plan (MPP) of 3 GPPs, i.e., Haveli Bahadur Shah, Bhikki and Balloki for the month of July -2022 is 425 MMCFD, when 385 MMCFD will be allocated to 3 GPPs by SNGPL as per their firm gas agreement and there will be no allocation to other power plants. This will lead to non-operation of RLNG based power plants, i.e., Nandipur, Rousch & FKPCL having capacity of 1050 MW whereas Orient, Saif, Sapphire & Halmore (total: 800 MW) will be operated on alternate fuel, i.e., HSD if available and allowed by Ministry of Energy (Power Division).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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