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Pakistan: Power crisis feared by 2007

The country may plunge into energy crisis by the year 2007 due to rising electricity demand which enters into double digit figure following increasing sale of electrical and electronic appliances on lease finance, it is reliably learnt Thursday.

“The country may face energy crisis by the year 2007 following healthy growth of 13 per cent in electricity demand during the last quarter, which will erode surplus production in absence of commissioning of any new power generation project during this financial year,” informed sources told The Nation.

As per Pakistan Economic Survey 2003-04, electricity consumption has increased by 8.6 per cent during first three-quarter of last fiscal year. However, a top level WAPDA official maintained that electricity demand surged up to 13 per cent during last quarter.

The survey said household sector has been the largest consumer of electricity accounting for 44.2 per cent of total electricity consumption followed by industries 31.1 per cent, agriculture 14.3 per cent, other government sector 7.4 per cent, commercial 5.5 per cent and street light 0.7 per cent.

Keeping in view the past trend and the future development, WAPDA has also revised its load forecast to eight per cent per annum as against previous estimates of five per cent on average. Even the revised load forecast has also failed all assessments due to which Authority has left no other option but to start load management this year, which may convert into scheduled loadshedding over a period of two year, sources maintained.

The country needs a quantum jump in electricity generation in medium-term scenario to revert the possibilities of loadshedding in future due to shrinking gap between demand and supply of electricity at peak hours.

According to an official report, the gap between firm supply and peak hours demand has already been shrunk to three digit (440 MW) during this fiscal and will slip into negative columns next year (-441 MW) and further intensify to (-1,457 MW) during the financial year 2006-07.

The report maintained that the difference between firm supply and peak demand is estimated at 5,529 MW by the year 2009-10 when firm electricity supply will stand at 15,055 MW against peak demand of 20,584 MW.

Chairman WAPDA Tariq Hamid at a Press conference early this year warned about the possible energy crisis and stressed the need for ‘quantum jump’ in power generation. The experts say it could only be possible through a mega project of hydropower generation, otherwise the gap between firm supply and peak demand will remain on the rise.

They said the power generation projects, which are due to commission in coming years are of low capacity and will not be able to exceed the surging demand of the electricity.

They say no power generation project will commission during this fiscal year and the total installed capacity of electricity generation will remain 19,478 MW to meet 15,082 MW firm supply and 14,642 MW peak demand.

Giving details of projects, the sources said Malakand-lll (81MW), Pehur (18MW) and combined cycle power plant at Faisalabad (450MW) are planned to be commissioned during the year 2007. Mangla Dam raising project would also add 150 MW capacity to the national grid by June 2007. Besides this, Khan Khwar (72MW), Allai Khwar (121MW), Duber Khwar (130MW) and Kayal Khwar (130MW) are expected to be completed in 2008 along with Golan Gol (106MW) and Jinnah (96MW). Moreover, Matiltan (84MW), New Bong Escape (79MW) and Rajdhani (132MW) are expected by 2009 while Taunsa (120MW) is likely to be completed by 2010.
Sources say WAPDA has also planned to install a high efficiency combined cycle power plant at Baloki (450MW), which is expected to be completed by 2010. In addition of these, power plant 1 & 2 of 300 MW each at Thar Coal with the assistance of China are also planned for commissioning in 2009, sources said. Moreover, efforts are also under way with China National Nuclear Corporation for the construction of a third nuclear power plant with a gross capacity of 325 MW at Chashma, they added.

When contacted, a WAPDA official said there is no power shortage in the country at present as the Authority still has over 1,000 MW surplus electricity. However, he admitted that the shortage may occur in the year 2007 and onward and said the Authority will utilise all options including running of IPPs plant at full capacity to avert any possible crisis.

About the system augmentation to bring down line losses, the official said the Authority would spend Rs 3.5 billion on augmentation of distribution lines this fiscal while another Rs 5 billion will be consumed on transmission lines. “We have been negotiating Rs 9 billion loan with a consortium of local banks to upgrade and augment the power transmission system,” he disclosed. The official further said that five new transmission lines of 220-KV would be installed by the end of 2004, that would ensure smooth supply to the consumers. He expressed full trust on present transmission and distribution system and said it could easily sustain the load of total installed power generation in the country.

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