Monday, June 1, 2009

Deliberate power shortfall in Pakistan

By Abdullah Muntazir

Pakistan is facing electricity crisis these days. In the name of ‘load management’ Pakistan Electric Power Company deprives Pakistani public from electricity for 8 to 12 hours daily. No one knows what the exact reason behind electricity shortfall is as PEPCO is not sharing the cause, it only tells us the effect. When I tried to dig out the truth I came to know that electricity shortfall claims are false and there are huge contradictions between PEPCO’s claims and its own facts and figures. These contradictions led me to the conclusion that in fact there is no justification of ‘load shedding’. If for the sake of argument one believes in PEPCO’s claim of shortfall then too, load shedding should not exceed from four hours a day.
             To prove PEPCO’s claims as wrong I used its own facts and figures obtained from its website.

PEPCO says that the total installed capacity of power generation in Pakistan is 17206 MW. As its usually not possible to get output according to installed capacity so lets assume that power is generated 2000 MW less than the installed capacity. It means there 15200 MW of electricity should be produced every day. Now let’s check the demand in the country. As per PEPCO;s own claims demand of electricity during last ten days of May, 2009 was 15250 MW. No calculator is needed to know that only 50 MW fells short in this case. But PEPCO claims a shortfall of 2500 MW. How is it possible? Can anybody ask Mr. Pervaiz Ashraf, the minister for water and power in federal cabinet? 2500 MW shortfall means power is produced 4500 MW less than installed capacity. This huge gap can not be justified by any means. Either it’s a failure of ministry of water and power to get power generation plants operated at optimum level or there is a deliberation in creating such a huge gap between installed capacity and actual production for some hidden reasons.
             Now lets assume for a while that the claim of 2500 MW shortfall is true. What should happen then? 2500 MW is only 16 percent of demand which is 15250 MW. How much load shedding is justified in managing 16 percent deficit? For me there is no reason to exceed load shedding from 4 hours. It is enough to cover the shortfall with 4 hours of load shedding without any discrimination between cities and villages. Can Mr. Raja Pervaiz Ashraf tell the nation why he is causing this mess?


Interestingly PEPCO’s fall claims can be counter checked with its previous year’s claims. Previous year claimed shortfall was almost double to this years ‘claimed’ shortfall but the duration of load shedding is same as it was in previous year. Isn’t it a humongous contradiction between PEPCO’s claims? Can anyone ask PEPCO and ministry of water and power to elaborate that why same time of load shedding is used to manage half of the previous year’s shortfall?
             Now you may think why PEPCO and Ministry of Water and Power is deliberately creating load shedding while there is no need and justification to do so. For me there are two reasons. First is related to commission from new Independent Power Producers (IPPs).  Contracts with new IPPs are underway these days. According to Raja Pervaiz Ashraf capacity of power generation will be increased up to 3000 MW by December this year. To increase power generation Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and his ministry is inducting more IPPs. He and his ministry needs justification for new contracts and it can be justified only by creating a deliberate power shortfall in the country. And do you think these IPPs will get contracts without any commission? If one can earn some ‘pennies’ through awarding new contracts to IPPs then why should not he earn some more ‘pennies’ from existing IPPs? This is economics’ basic rule that shortage in supply increases price. Public needs electricity and Ministry of Water and Power through PEPCO wants to push the public to the point where it say ‘we need electricity at any cost’. Mr. Raja successfully pushed the nation to this point. Now electricity prices are supposed to be increased by 17 percent in the budget. IPPs will definitely get benefit by this unjustified increase in tariff and it will be appropriate for them to pay ‘thanks’ to Mr. Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and his colleagues.  
             One comment: PEPCO claimed on 1st June 1, 2009 that it has ended load shedding temporarily. Can anyone ask Raja and its PEPCO how it was possible to get 2500 MW electricity within one day? Was it in Raja’s pocket and he threw it to the nation for few days? These are the days when electricity demand is at its peak. At the same time hydel power generation is also at its peak and it will remain same until September. What will be the justification if Raja starts load shedding again?

 The write is a Lahore based analyst and security expert

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Chief Justice should read this article. Someone should send this to him please

Anonymous said...

brilliant.....

Anonymous said...

we need to hang the politicians and do it now so that no one does corruption

Sana Khalid said...

I really appreciate you for all the valuable information that you are providing us through your blog.
Keep Working for Pakistan.

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