UNINTERRUPTED POWER SUPPLY STILL A DREAM

KANWAL SALEEM
Jan 4 - 10, 20
10

In the budget 2009-10, the government had allocated over Rs. 100 billion for ongoing and new projects in power sector with a view to ensuring provision of electricity to all. However, uninterrupted power supply is still a dream for the electricity consumers. The Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervaiz Ashraf had announced several times on media to put an end to electricity load shedding by December 2009, but people are still enduring long hours of load shedding that is causing hardships to public as well as trade and industry.

The Minister also claimed that as many as 17 power projects in thermal, hydro, rental and coal power generation sector having installed capacity of 3102 MW would be completed by the end of 2009. However, claims remained unfulfilled.

It may be noted that the government had announced 17 power projects including Atlas Power Project 225 MW (first week of June 2009), Orient Power Project 225 MW (last week of May 2009), Rental Plant at Faisalabad 150 MW (July 2009), Rental Plant at Guddu 110 MW (August 2009), Rental Plant at Sahuwala 150 MW (September 2009), Rental Plant at Multan 192 MW (September 2009), Rental Plant at Satiana Road 200 MW (September 2009), Karkey Rental Project 232 MW (September 2009), Walters Rental Project 205 MW (September 2009), Gulf Power Rental Project 62 MW (December 2009), Independent Power Rental Project 200 MW (December 2009), Khan Khawar (Hydro Power Project) 72 MW (September 2009), Fauji Mari Power Project 202 MW (September 2009), Nishat Power Project 200 MW (July 2009), Muridka (Sapphare) Power Project 225 MW (October 2009), Engro Power Project 227 MW (December 2009), and Sahiwal (Saif) Power Project 225 MW (October 2009).

Out of these 17 projects, only three have become operational so far. Official sources told Page that the government has taken all possible steps to complete ongoing projects of thermal, hydro, rental and coal power generation schemes in public and private sectors to overcome the deficit of electricity in the country. The government has planned 10 more power projects in hydel and thermal sector with installed capacity 1984 MW. These projects will be completed in the year 2010. These projects include Jinnah Low Head Hydel 96 MW (February 2010), Nishat Chunian Project 200 MW (March 2009), HUBCO-Narowal Project 225 (March 2010), Allai Khwar (Hydro Power Project) 121 MW (September 2010), Duber Khwar (Hydro Power Project) 130 MW (October 2010), Bhikki Power Project 225 MW (December 2010), Nandipur Power Project 425 MW (December 2010), Liberty Power Tech 200 MW (December 2010), Japan Expansion Project 156 MW (December 2010), and Green Power Project 205 MW (December 2010).

According to them, the government is all set to complete Golen Gol Hydropower project by July 2013 to add 106 megawatt electricity to country's transmission system. "Work on the project was initiated in July 2002 and was set to be completed in June 2006.ţ

However, they added, the construction could not be started as per the schedule, which later was extended till July 2007. Now according to the revised plan, the project would be completed in July 2013. They said height and length of the project were 12 metre and 3.81 km adding that its preliminary cost (PC) was estimated Rs 7,035.80 million. Rs.367.27 million has been spent on the project so far and the government has allocated Rs.700 million under Public Sector Development Programme, they said.

The spokesman of Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) said that the company was striving hard to upgrade its generation and distribution system for managing electricity supply for its over 18 million consumers. Nowadays, the electricity demand and supply gap exists due to canal closure and fuel shortages, which is being managed professionally to cause minimum inconvenience to the consumers. He said that PEPCO had a vast network of its field offices in the jurisdictions of its 8 distribution companies, as 925 sub-divisions and 192 divisions with 262674 km HT lines, 197514 km LT lines, and 493696 transformers installed.

Consumers may face problems like power disruptions, faults in metres or cables, low voltage, and defects in transformers. PEPCO line staff is available round-the-clock in the field offices to rectify all sorts of problems in all types of weather, at any time. PEPCO has intensified its efforts to cope up with the growing demand of electricity.

New IPPs and rental power plants are commissioned. System augmentation programme is also being executed to tackle the problems of power disruptions, low voltage and over loading.

PEPCO staff replaced faulty meters and cables, upgraded transformers, strengthened and bifurcated feeders. They also replaced power transformers of the grid stations with the heavy ones to make them workable in all sorts of weathers, the spokesman added.

ADB is extending $780 million for priority energy efficiency projects. Moreover, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is extending $780 million to Pakistan through a multitranche financing facility for priority energy efficiency projects that will secure the country's growing energy needs and reduce its reliance on costly, polluting fossil fuels, said Bayanjargal Byambasaikhan, energy specialist with ADB's Central and West Asia Department.

According to the information made available to Page, the $1.18 billion Energy Efficiency Investment Program underpins Pakistan's first-ever initiative to make both the pursuit of energy security and low-carbon growth a single strategic priority. The 10-year program puts energy efficiency and the adoption of clean technologies at the heart of government planning and public investments.

"The mainstreaming of energy efficiency into policy and planning marks a radical change for Pakistan and creates a major opportunity for new clean energy investments," said Bayanjargal Byambasaikhan.

He added Pakistan currently suffers from a huge gap in energy supply and demand, resulting in regular, lengthy power outages, which is a key factor behind its present economic difficulties. The power deficit stems from growing consumer demand, combined with a lack of new investment, large-scale system losses and inability to attract the private sector. The government has responded with interim measures such as rental power generation, but this is a short term measure that falls well short of the country's needs.

Energy efficiency saves money, and is the quickest and most climate-friendly way of bridging the energy gap and securing energy supplies, said Byambasaikhan. The multitranche financing facility will finance short to medium-term energy efficiency projects, including the replacement of incandescent light bulbs with more efficient and cost-effective compact fluorescent lamps. The facility, which will release funds in tranches, will provide a portion of the government's 10-year energy efficiency investment plan, estimated at $3.8 billion. Targeted energy savings under the program will reduce the country's energy intensity, while cutting greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 30%. The overall gains in annual savings by fiscal year 2019 are expected to be around $4 billion. Major social benefits, such as increased household incomes, jobs, and reduced poverty levels, will emerge. The programme will help the government reduce public expenditures and subsidies, easing the debt problem in the power sector, which has weighed on attempts at improvements in the past. It also removes financial barriers to investment in clean energy technology, opening the way for increased private sector involvement with ADB, and other development partners, helping to leverage commercial financing support. Projects in the program are expected to be eligible for earning carbon revenues under the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol.

Through the facility, ADB will extend $760 million in loans from its ordinary capital resources in tranches. It will provide a further $20 million from its concessional Asian Development Fund. Co-financing equivalent to ─150 million will be provided by Agence Fran┴aise de Development (AFD), with the government financing $200 million equivalent. ADB is the government's lead partner in the energy sector, providing around one-third of total assistance, and it will work closely with other development partners to support the 10-year programme, which will be coordinated by the Planning Commission.