While unannounced power outages continue for the third day in a row across the country, the government has confirmed a shortage of supply in the system due to technical reasons despite surplus production capacity.
According to the report, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) took stern notice of the excessive load shedding and sought clarification from the power distribution companies (Discos), including K Electric.
On the other hand, Energy Minister Hamad Azhar said that the shortage was due to the ‘closure’ of some thermal power plants due to the non-availability of water and insufficient supply from Tarbela Dam.
Electricity and gas shortages are likely to increase in the coming days, officials said.
Sources in the Power Division said that some thermal plants could not function due to the last-minute cancellation of LNG vessels by Pakistan LNG Limited due to high cost.
As a result, gas could not be supplied to several gas-fired plants including Muzaffargarh, Faisalabad, Orient, Saif, Halmore and Altern Power and they remained mostly off the grid while three mega LNG based plants, Haveli Bahadur Shah, Balloki and Bhikki had to work at low capacity.
Sources said that while short-term alternative gas shortages have been alleviated, challenges to fuel supply have increased this month, but partial restoration of the system is expected in the next few months. Better availability of water on a daily basis will improve power generation.
Sources said that the gas field of Hungarian firm MOL was to go on annual turnaround (ATA) from June 16 to 17, which would reduce the supply of domestic gas by 120 to 140 MMcfd. Later, on June 29, the non-supply of the Elangi terminal is likely to lead to an even bigger crisis, which will affect the gas supply for a week.
The company has already given notice of dry docking for the repair of the terminal from June 29.
This means that such a gas shortage will be between 300 and 650 MMcfd and will have a negative impact not only on the power sector but also on other sectors.
Sources said that the company had been delaying the dry docking of the terminal for almost two years but unfortunately it had scheduled it in June when the power demand peaked.
Meanwhile, complaints of power outages due to tripping and load shedding have increased across the country since Monday.
The Power Division has officially confirmed that there has been a shortage of 1,000 to 1,500 MW of electricity during the last three days due to a shortfall of 3,300 MW from the Tarbela Dam.
NEPRA said it had “taken stern notice of the excessive load shedding faced by consumers across Pakistan”.
To find out the reasons and deal with the situation, NEPRA has directed the CEOs of all Discos and K Electric to appear on Friday (June 11).
CEOs will need to explain the root causes of the shortcomings and the steps they have taken to eliminate excessive load shedding.
Energy Minister Hamad Azhar said in a recorded statement that the country has been facing load shedding for 48 hours due to various reasons, including non-supply of 3300 MW from Tarbela Dam which will be available in three to four days.
There are also some technical glitches and some plants have gone out of the system.
The Federal Minister said that the reason for this shortage was not a problem of capacity, the capacity was always a system surplus that was not used for most of the year and still the capacity had to be paid.
The Power Division said that the total demand in the middle of the day on Wednesday was about 24,100 MW but the power generation was 22,600 MW which led to a shortfall of 1,500 MW.
He apologized for the inconvenience and appealed to consumers to use electricity with caution.