During the heat wave in Pakistan, the power crisis is getting worse across the country and people are suffering due to load shedding in different cities.
At present, the total shortfall across the country has reached 5,000 MW, while NEPRA has sought response from power distribution companies, including K-Electric, a private power transmission company in Karachi, on the increasing load shedding.
Unannounced load shedding is taking place in many parts of the country due to increasing shortfall.
The Ministry of Energy has acknowledged that Mangla and Tarbela are also facing shortages of 3,000 MW, including low water discharge from Tarbela Dam.
Federal Minister Hamad Azhar said that due to technical shutdown of some plants, load shedding has taken place in the last 48 hours and efforts have been made to provide 1100 MW power from alternative sources till tonight. Three thousand megawatts of electricity from Tarbela Dam will be returned to the system in four to six days.
Hamad Azhar says that in the last 48 hours, there has been a shortfall of only one thousand megawatts.
How much electricity and how much demand?
Electricity generated in Pakistan comes from 64% fuel, 27% water, 5% nuclear energy and 4% solar and other alternative sources.
The demand for electricity has increased due to the heat wave in the country at present and it is estimated that the total power generation in the country is currently 19,000 MW as compared to the demand of 24,000 MW.
Due to this situation, load shedding is going on for six to eight hours in different cities.
Due to high demand for electricity, 80% of the transformers of the distribution companies are overloaded.
Several electricity distribution companies say that due to rising temperatures and rising demand, many feeders are tripping and maintenance work is underway.
'Power generation will increase in the coming days'
A spokesman for the Ministry of Energy said that Tarbela Dam and Mangla Dam are currently generating 3,300 MW less electricity due to low water discharge.
According to him, the total electricity demand of the country is 24,100 MW while the current generation in the system is 22,600 MW.
He said that instructions have been issued to the distribution companies to improve the system, adding that power generation would increase in the coming days.
In addition, the Ministry of Energy has temporarily apologized to consumers for load management.
Notice of NEPRA
The National Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has taken notice of the load shedding in the scorching heat and summoned the heads of all distribution companies on June 11.
NEPRA has called for a report of load shedding from all discs and K-Electric and inquired as to why the load shedding is taking place.
NEPRA says that uninterrupted power supply to consumers is the responsibility of Discus, uninterrupted power supply to consumers should be ensured while all the facts related to load shedding should be informed to NEPRA by Friday.
NEPRA further said that the causes of unannounced load shedding and their alternative solutions should be informed.
Protests have also taken place in many parts of the country due to load shedding. In Peshawar, a member of the provincial assembly forcibly turned off the feeder.
How much electricity is generated in Pakistan?
Various claims have been made about power generation in the country. Opposition leader in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif had said in a statement on social media on June 8 regarding the load shedding that the country is currently generating 16,000 MW of electricity while the demand is 25,000 MW.
He had said that in the year 2018, 27,000 MW of electricity was not only generated but also supplied. The question is why load shedding is happening when there is capacity to produce and supply?
Federal Energy Minister Hamad Azhar had written a fake figures alert in response to Shahbaz Sharif's statement.
Replying to Shahbaz Sharif, Hamad Azhar had said that his hard work was only in making expensive electricity deals. Neither thought of consumption nor invested in the outdated transmission system. The PTI government is now correcting contracts with power plants and is investing heavily in transmission.
According to the Ministry of Energy, the total demand yesterday was 23,174 MW for which a total of 22,243 MW was available. Thus, only 924 MW of electricity was in short supply.
But the load shedding in different parts of the country is telling a different situation.
Rural areas of Pakistan are most affected by load shedding where load shedding is going on for six to eight hours while power supply in urban areas is also being affected for two to three hours.
Why the problem of load shedding despite electricity?
Despite high power generation capacity in Pakistan, load shedding continues and according to the government, the main reason is not investing in transmission lines.
The government says there is electricity at the moment but the existing transmission system is not capable of delivering it to the public. Most of Pakistan's main transmission lines are outdated and cannot carry more than one load.
Shamsul Mulk, a three-time WAPDA chairman, disagrees with the government. He says that when the transmission system is built, there is room for further increase.
He said that the system installed in Pakistan was only in a few countries of the world at that time. He thinks that there is no problem in this system even today and if there is a problem then it can be a minor problem. However, high load shedding indicates management problems.
On the other hand, Arshad Abbasi, who works in the power sector, says that the power system depends on three things: first the production, then the transmission and third the distribution.
He said that in the past work was done on generation but not on transmission and distribution. Our transformers are over 80% overloaded. The power system cannot be fixed until it is worked on.
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