Must be a regular feature to bridge gap in demand/supply

June 11 - 17, 2007

LAHORE: With a surge in mercury, WAPDA which was already facing a shortage of over 1500 megawatts may be looking at a total shortage of 2500 MW in the every near future. There is no let-up in the load-shedding, although it will fluctuate between 1400 to 2500MW beyond 2008-09. This shortage would prevail despite significant investments in system rehabilitation and load-management practices. The crisis may subside in financial year 2009-10.

This has been estimated by the government and Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) on the basis of economic growth rate of 7-8 per cent and after taking into account planned investments for power generation and system improvement over the medium term.

According to officials in WAPDA, the next capacity addition in Wapda will be in January 2008 when two public sector projects of 80MW each start commercial operation. This (160MW) will be the only improvement in capacity throughout the financial year 2007-08 although demand during the period is likely to urge by more than 1000MW.

The household power consumers are currently facing a load-shedding between two to four hours in cities, except some posh areas, and up to eight hours in rural areas, like parts of Azad Kashmir and interior of Punjab and Sindh.

This is in addition to business closure after sunset, staggering of industrial activities and use of tube-wells in the night. Estimates put the shortage at 1320MW in June this year, rising to 1430MW in July before peaking at 2400MW in August. The shortfall will come down to 800MW in October but will rise again to 1360MW in November-December and cross 1800MW in January 2008, sources in Wapda said.


According to sources in Wapda, the government expects that a total of 22 projects -- both in public and private sector -- would start production during September 2008 to June 2009 to enhance generation capacity by 4700MW that would take total installed capacity to 22400MW. As a result, November and December of financial year 2008-09 would be the only time when there will be no power shortfall. But in January 2009 there will again be a shortfall of 1520MW that will subside to 330MW in June 2009.

These projections suggest that there will be no shortage during July 2010 to June 2011 because of about seven projects with a generation capacity of 1180MW would come into commercial production during September 2009 to June 2010. However, there would again be major energy shortfalls -- rising from 600MW in July 2011 to 2000MW in July 2013 and staying there throughout the financial year 2013-14.

According to sources in Wapda, the government expects that a 1000MW project based on imported coal would come into production in June 2012, followed by Kalabagh dam that would start producing about 2400 MW of electricity in July 2014. Among the major projects, Kalabagh dam will be followed by 969 MW Neelum-Jhelum Project in July 2015 and then 2250MW of Bhasha dam in January 2016. Bunji power project with an expected capacity of 2700MW would come on stream in December 2016. By December 2016, Pakistan's total generation capacity would reach 43,300MW and the country will have a surplus capacity of more than 3000MW provided all the plans envisaged for completion in the next 10 years are materialised.

On the other hand, Tariq Hameed, Chairman of the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) said that the power shortage and load-shedding in Pakistanis likely to persist for the rest of current calendar year.

He averred the demand for electricity had surged beyond Pakistan's generation capacity and WAPDA was facing a shortage of 1200 megawatts. Some projects to produce hydropower were underway and would enhance WAPDA's electricity production. WAPDA was supplying 750 MW to Karachi, he added.

The WAPDA chairman said power shortages were common in Pakistan in the summer, when the scorching heat drives up demand for power as people switch on their air conditioners. He has urged the public to cooperate with WAPDA in schemes to save electricity.