Urban centres exempted from power outages as deficit worsens

Article Republished By Javier Troconis

LAHORE: The government has decided to exempt major urban centres from crippling power outages as the electricity deficit is expected to worsen after a long weekend following the Eid ul-Fitr holiday, hobbling the economy and putting off foreign investors.

However, power outages will continue for high-loss making neighbourhoods. The situation is likely to worsen as summer intensifies, when air conditioners are switched on full blast.

Reports citing sources privy to the matter said the shortfall, calculated to be around 9,000 megawatts at the end of April, declined to 1000 megawatts during the first weekend after Eid ul-Fitr.

“The power production currently stands at 22,000 megawatts against the demand of 21,000 megawatts,” the sources said, adding the demand and supply of Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) also stood at 3,700 megawatts.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Today had reported in April the Lesco system was overloaded and the shortfall has gone beyond 1,500 megawatts.

“The quota of power supply to Lesco remains at 3,400 megawatts against a demand of 4900 megawatts,” the report said, adding that the overloading led to disruption of supply to multiple grid stations, causing power outages in the city.

It is likely that a new schedule for power supply would be issued Monday while keeping in view the demand and supply of the commodity across the country.

The supply is likely to witness an improvement owing to the functioning of closed power plants.

Interestingly, only a year ago, Pakistan was generating more electricity than it needed. Large-scale construction of new power plants — largely coal-fired ones funded by China — had dramatically boosted the nation’s energy capacity.

“It’s true. We are producing much more than we need,” Tabish Gauhar, former special assistant to then-prime minister Imran Khan on power, had told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Currently, the country gets 64 percent of its electricity from fossil fuels, with another 27 percent from hydropower, 5 percent from nuclear power and just 4 percent from renewables such as solar and wind.

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