SANDWICHED BETWEEN KESC & WAPDA

AMANULLAH BASHAR
Apr 07 - 13, 2008

The vicious cycle of load-shedding and power shutdowns amidst severe summer heat has taken away the social and economic colors of the metropolitan city of Karachi where the millions are forced to experience the endless and disastrous power supplies.

Actually, the power crisis stemmed from the on going tussle between WAPDA and KESC over what the informed sources said the row over tariff for the power supplies from WAPDA to KESC which owes Rs38 billion to WAPDA.

Informed sources said that the accumulated dues to the tune of Rs38 billion are stuck up with KESC as the private management of the utility pleads that the dues accumulated due to power purchase agreement signed between the two at the highest commercial rates which are much more than what the KESC charging at an average rate of Rs6.50 per unit from its consumers.

The KESC taking the plea that the high commercial rates being asked by WAPDA should be allowed to pass on to the consumers along with the fuel adjustment charges in view of ever increasing fuel prices.

People are attaching high hopes that the new government giving top priority to the concept of good governance would sort the endless tussle between WAPDA & KESC with a view to save the growing economy as well as the people being punished for no fault.

Besides social implications, the manufacturing sector which is the backbone of the economy suffering heavily due to poorly managed power supplies. It is worth mentioning that growth in advances to the manufacturing sector rose to 14.7 percent during July-Jan 2008 from 12.9 percent in the same period of the previous financial year. This higher growth was mainly driven by higher advances to the textile sector. In fact, the alarming deterioration in power supplies could be responsible for a disaster in the economic growth. It is the high time to take up the matter seriously to save the economy and the confidence of the investors. The poor infrastructure may shatter and wipe out what we have gained so far merely because of unresolved petty issue!

A LOOK AT KESC POWER GENERATION RESOURCES

Currently, KESC buys 300mw during 20 hours of the day while gets 400mw for one hour a day during peak hours. However, despite getting 300-400mw from WAPDA, the utility has not option but to resort to load shedding to manage the deficit of 150-200mw. A look at the generation capacity of the utility and other sources of power supplies indicates that KESC" generates around 1100mw from its 6 units at Bin Qasim, 240mw supplied from two IPPs i.e. Gul Ahmed and Tapal Energies, 80 mw from KANNUP whenever it is in working order, 70mw from desalination recycle plant of DHA and 40mw from Pakistan Steel and other sources. The total come to1850mw when it is reinforced by 300mw from WAPDA. Since the current power requirement of the city estimated at 2000-2100mw this leaves a deficit of around 200mw.

It is painful to note that in the mid 90s the then government put a cap on KESC barring it from enhancing its generation capacity. The government also scrapped an IPP of 700mw for which the ground breaking ceremony was also held at the West Wharf forcing KESC to heavily depend upon WAPDA to meet its power requirements. Now is the time that the newly elected government should intervene into the matter to resolve the tariff issue between KESC and WAPDA besides pushing the management of the KESC to speed up its power enhancement plans. It may be recalled that KESC was expected to put a new power generating unit of 220mw scheduled to go into operation this month. But this project continued to linger on for the reasons best known by the KESC management.

Meanwhile, if the government allows KESC to pass on the enhanced rates being asked by WAPDA, the average rate of electricity supplied to consumers would be in the range of Rs12 per unit which would apparently be unacceptable to the consumers. It is said that the major reason for transmission and distribution losses (mainly due to power theft) estimated around 38 percent of the total power generated or purchased. Increase in power rates would mean more theft or T&D losses because the price of electricity would go beyond reach even of the middle income groups.

It is amazing to note that the power tariff in Karachi is called multi-tier tariff which means that tariff goes up with the increase of the power consumption. The more you consume more you would pay.

NEW GOVERNMENT

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani has recently set the economic and political policy directions of the country. While taking note of the burning issue of power crisis, he has highlighted government's commitment to raise power generation capacity on war footings.

However, the key factor is the pace of execution as currently the currently was running short of 3,000 MW which is bound to escalate to 4,000 MW on the back of growing economic activity and on top of that the fast ensuing summer.

Since the construction of high dams would take time, the expediting of the current power projects is the only short term solution. It is interesting to note that most of the incoming projects were sponsored by the public sector while the private sector role is relatively not visible in power sector especially the hydro power generation. It seems that the private sector was purposely kept away from hydro power generation which the cheaper source for power generation and a vast potential has yet to be tapped.

INSTALLED AND UTILISED CAPACITY

 

THERMAL

HYDEL

COAL

NUCLEAR

TOTAL

 

WAPDA

IPP'S

KESC

TOTAL

WAPDA

IPP'S

TOTAL

WAPDA

KESC

TOTAL

PUBLIC

CAPACITY

Installed (MW)

4,900

5,822

1,756

12,478

6,479

-

6,494

-

-

-

462

19,419

Utilised (GWh)

21597

8169

34206

63972

31953

-

 

-

-

-

2288

98213

Source: Pakistan Energy book 2007


INSTALLED POWER CAPACITY

TYPE

MWS INSTALLED CAPACITY

SHARE IN TOTAL CAPACITY

HYDEL (WAPDA)

6479

33%

THERMAL (WAPDA)

4900

25%

THERMAL (KESC)

1756

9%

THERMAL (IPPs)

5822

30%

NUCLEAR

462

2%

Total Capacity

19419

100%

Source: Energy Book 2007


POWER GENERATION AND DEMAND STATUS

MegaWatts

 

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Demand

13071

13831

14642

15483

16548

17689

19080

20584

Supply

14336

15046

15082

15072

15483

15055

15055

15055

Source: PPIB