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ISLAMABAD: The government’s inability, ill planning and financial woes have multiplied the miseries of electricity consumers who are facing up to 10 hours load shedding across the country, in addition to higher electricity bills.

Informed sources told Business Recorder that on Friday noon electricity demand was about 29,800 MW whereas supply was 23,245 MW, showing a wide gap of over 5500 MW, which is being managed through scheduled and unscheduled load shedding. Besides, consumers are paying heavy electricity bills ranging from Rs 40 per unit to Rs 50 per unit including surcharges and other taxes.

The government is also mulling to raise base tariff between Rs 4 to Rs 5 per unit from next fiscal year (July onwards).

Electricity rates standardisation: Subsidy will be allocated: Dastgir

The main reason for the huge shortfall, sources said, was massive rise in demand owing to scorching heat, less supply of RLNG and other fuels to generation plants and limited capacity of plants to purchase fuel as government is not clearing their due energy costs.

National Power Control Centre (NPCC), whose top brass is facing charges of incompetence in dealing with recent power breakdown and irregularities in appointment at a key position, has been barred from sharing demand and supply data with the media.

“We are not allowed to share demand supply data as it creates confusion. Officials in Power Division are only authorised to share it with the media,” said General Manager, NPCC, Sajajd Akhtar who is also facing action for failing to contain spurts of recent power break down. The prime minister has already directed that action be taken against responsible.

Three figures of demand and supply were shared with this scribe: (i) peak demand 26,000 MW verses supply of 21,000; (ii) peak demand 28,801 MW against supply of 23,244 MW; and (ii) drawl of 20, 000 MW against allocation of 21,000 MW.

The average load shedding duration is 10 hours i.e. 12-18 hours rural areas including those areas which are facing revenue based load shedding whereas urban areas are bearing the brunt of 6-8 hours. Local faults

and heavy load-based shedding is over and above the routine shedding schedule.

On March 27, 2023, Business Recorder reported that the country’s forex woes are unlikely to allow the government to take a prompt decision for purchase of three additional cargoes of LNG on spot whose price is around $ 13.4 MMBTU in the international market.

The Pakistan LNG Limited (PLL), in a letter to Petroleum Division noted that during April 2023 to September 2023 terminal capacity for additional 2-3 LNG cargoes per month is available at Terminal-2, while spot LNG prices are currently at $ 13.4 MMBTU ($ 43 million per cargo).

Accordingly, the PLL had suggested that power sector be requested to analyse the possible savings with respect to power generation based on imported additional LNG through replacement of any other fuel.

However, Power Division did not respond to the PLL on its proposal within a specific time due to which the country lost the chance to purchase LNG at cheap rates.

Insiders claimed that power Distribution Companies (Discos) have been directed informally to maximise their recoveries so that improvement is shown in collection at the end of current fiscal year, adding that now Discos will send inflated bills or detection bills to prove that collection was better in the outgoing fiscal year.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

Comments

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Maqbool Jun 24, 2023 11:25am
How many power plants are willfully kept closed by GOP ? Why is there never an Audit of discos ? Why is no action taken on ‘lost’ Electricity and National Gas by government departments?
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Truth That Cannot Be denied. Jun 24, 2023 11:30am
The thing is when they will not pay money on time, and make it circular debt, this will happen. Now these all agencies are like blackmailing indirectly to people. As there is no check and balance this will happen and will increase further. Its a "win win" situation for all stake holders to gain as much they can as there is no one to stop and ask any one regarding what they charge or bill. At the end will say " May Allah make things easy for our country man, from these kind of situations where not even a single person is giving heed or stopping these actions."
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