Power generation plummets to 2009 level
LAHORE, Dec 10: The power generation has dropped down to the level of 2009 in the last five weeks, neutralising over 3,000MW generation capacity added to the national grid during the period of the present government.
According to the data prepared by now-defunct Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco), the average generation during November in 2009 was 11,050MW and it was 11,110MW last month.
In December 2009, the country, on average, generated 11,110MW whereas its average so far in December has been 11,150MW. The problem with the generation, as pointed out by the report, is gross under-utilisation of installed capacity for different reasons. In November this year, the company, on average, could not generate around 2,750MW a day because it could not pay for the oil and did not get gas. To make the matter worse, over 2,000MW capacity was on its routine maintenance schedule during the month that took total under-utilisation figure close to a massive 5,000MW a day.
In December, the under-utilised capacity has gone further up, with non-availability of fuel, taking close to 3,200MW off instead of 2,750MW in November. Because of these factors, the maximum generation, which stood at 12,100MW in 2009, has improved by 15MW (to 12,115MW) this November.
It leaves a huge question mark over the 3,348MW generation capacity, which was added to the national grid by the PPP government. Out of these 3,348MW, 343MW (Karke 231MW, Gulf Power 62MW and Nudero-II 51MW) were taken offline because of court orders or the companies refused to install plants for some reasons. But, still 3,005MW were added to the national grid during the last four years. Where has that capacity gone? The government on the one hand added 3,005MW generation capacity, but the under-utilised capacity has reached close to 5,000MW, if the latest figures compiled by the Pepco are to be believed. Explaining reasons for the crisis, a Pepco official maintains: “The sector faces double problem: financial crunch and management crisis. The sectoral recoveries have come down to 82 per cent. During September and October, they improved to 89 per cent when the federal government paid Rs24 billion to KESC along with other subsidies. But they are down to usual 80 per cent in November because there were no additional payments. These 18 per cent translate into over Rs100 billion, and spell financial disaster for the sector.”
As if all this was not enough, the entire sector has become a rudderless ship, with generalist bureaucrats managing the highly technical and crucial companies like National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC), Central Power Purchase Agency (CPPA), Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) and other equally important organisations (Nepra, distribution companies) being run on ad hoc or look-after charge basis. In this scenario, no doubt that the situation – generation, collection, fuel supplies, circular debt etc. – is worsening by the day, he concluded.