- As per LESCO’s new load shedding management plan, LESCO’s shortfall is estimated around 45%
Following the bitter experiences of previous years, the gradual rise in temperature has threatened the residents of urban, as well as rural, areas of the country with the unpleasant phenomenon of excessive load shedding in this year, too.
The government remained unable to add a considerable portion of electricity in the national grid station despite passing of one more year of its tenure.
According to LESCO’s new load shedding management plan, during this summer, LESCO’s shortfall is estimated around 45 per cent. Currently, the average electricity supply is around 1570MW while the expected supply is between 2900MW to 3200MW. The plan states that four-hour load shedding in urban areas with power losses can increase up to 20 per cent, while the areas with 10-hour load shedding with power losses between 30 to 40 per cent. In rural areas, where line losses are up to 20 per cent, will face six hours of load shedding, while areas having 50 to 70 per cent line losses will face up to 16 hours of long load shedding.
Like previous years, this year, too, people of rural areas will have to face discriminatory attitude of the government towards them. Sources in LESCO replied to a question of how LESCO would manage distribution in urban and rural areas, as there was a big gap in demand and supply that LESCO is ordered to manage the load in big cities. “The load shedding in big cities, including Lahore, in this summer is expected 8 to 10 hours, while villages can face more than 14 hours or virtually no electricity,” sources revealed.
Reports regarding unannounced and massive electricity load shedding were reported from different districts of Punjab, including Lahore, Rawalpindi, Sialkot, Nankana Sahib, Hafizabad, Wazirabad, Kasur, Sheikhupura, Okara, Faisalabad, and Toba Tek Singh. People from most parts of the country, including all the provincial capitals, complained that they were facing hours long load shedding.
On the other hand, government officials claim that were was only six-hour load shedding in cities and eight hours in rural areas. In reality, though, this is not the actual situation, as the mega city like Lahore is under the grip of over eight hours of shutdown. The rural areas of the country are virtually without electricity. People of south and central Punjab and interior Sindh are facing 14-hour blackout; the situation is not different in rural areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan either. However, a couple of days before, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah expressed his grave concern for hours long load shedding in the province. He claimed of up to 20 hours long load shedding in different areas of Sindh.
People were facing immense difficulties due to massive load shedding on top of scorching heat, but there was no official statement about the power situation, and people were being kept in the dark about it. Sources in energy sector disclosed on Saturday that the gap between the generation and demand has climbed up to 50 per cent. They said that, currently, the electricity demand in the country has reached around 16,000MW. The national grid currently receives around 11,500MW electricity from its sources—6,000MW from private Independent Power Projects (IPP) and WAPDA’s Generation Companies (Gencos), whereas 5000 MW from hydel. Sources informed that over 1,500MW from the available generation is dedicated for VVIP installment and around 500MW for KSE; the rest (10,000MW) is being provided to 10 power distribution companies of the country.
The government announcement that it would be able to add more than 5000MW electricity in the system by 2018 would help in reducing the menace of load shedding. Sources revealed there was demand for 2,000MW electricity increase every year in the country, and it’s very hard to expect a prominent cut in load shedding after two years. “Fuel shortage for power plants and shutting down of many IPPs over payment issue are the reasons behind the massive load shedding,” sources said, adding that this considerable demand is expected to climb up to 21,000 MW during Ramadan, while there was no hope of an increase in generation up to 15,000MW by all components.