Thursday, June 1, 2023

Pakistan prays in the dark duringRamadan as power outages hit country

Pakistani citizens have been dealing with power cuts for up to 12 hours a day even during the holy month of Ramzan as the cash-strapped country faces a major energy crisis due to the non-availability of fuel for power generation and non-maintenance of some key power plants, according to media reports.
The power cuts on Thursday made the lives of people miserable even at the time of Iftari and Sehri as the K-Electric (KE) announced a lengthy “load management schedule” with power outages lasting up to many hours in various areas. “Due to shortage in the national grid, load management is carried out in your area,” the Dawn newspaper cited an SMS from KE as reading that also listed the outage timings.
“The less production of hydropower in the wake of no improvement in water flows into the system and no rain spell coupled with an increase in demand of electricity, which has increased to 19,000MW at peak hours, due to surge in mercury have also aggravated the electricity availability crisis. However, the demand during the daytime stands at 16,000 MW,” Power Division officials said.
However, officials said the system was currently producing 12,000 MW of electricity during daytime and 16,000 MW at peak hours starting from Iftari to Sehri, knowing the fact that the country has an installed capacity of electricity of over 39,000 MW.
According to The News International, urban centres such as Karachi, Hyderabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Faisalabad, and Sialkot have been severely hit with 4-10 hours of load shedding, and rural areas facing up to 10-12 hour outages.
In Karachi, 3-4 hours of load shedding is underway because of a reduction in electricity supply from the national grid by 300MW. In Interior Sindh, the load shedding currently stands at 10-12 hours. In Rawalpindi, power outages hovered around 4-5 hours.
The dwellers in Faisalabad, Gujranwala, and Sialkot and their rural areas are also experiencing power outages from 4-10 hours. However, some areas are also facing load shedding but at a bearable level.
The load shedding in Lahore and its suburbs stood at 4-10 hours. In Balochistan, the load shedding has surged to 10-12 hours. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province has also been facing power outages from 6-12 hours.
The news about widespread power cuts comes as a report on Thursday said the country’s power plants producing up to 1,980 megawatts of capacity were shut due to non-clearance of dues of about Rs 300 billion.
The News International newspaper reported that HCPC of 120 MW has also been dysfunctional since Oct 4, 2019, owing to the expiry of its gas supply agreement.
Two units of Jamshoro Power House of 549 MW and four units of Muzaffargarh of 840 MW have been non-functional since April 8 and 9 this year for a lack of furnace oil.
The unit-2 of the Sahiwal power plant based on coal has not been producing electricity of 621 MW since April 20 this year for a lack of imported coal, and about 18 power plants having a capacity of 3,605 MW have been non-functional because of technical faults and non-maintenance.


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