Current power crisis to end by first week of May: Khawaja Asif

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ISLAMABAD, April 19 (APP): Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif on Wednesday said the current power crisis would end by the first week of May after the power plants closed for maintenance started producing electricity.
Responding to a calling attention notice and question in continuation
thereon, the minister said it was fact that an unexpected power crisis emerged during past few days due to early heat wave and closure of some plants for maintenance.
There was an unexpected surge in power demand due to early heat wave widening gap between demand and supply, he added.
He said usually the temperature did not rise much during April and keeping in view the temperature trends of previous years, the power plants were scheduled to close in the month for maintenance.
However, he said, when the temperature surged and consumers started using air conditioners during current April, the power demand increased by 2,700 megawatts as compared to April 2016.
The minister said after closure of the plants for maintenance there was an outage of 2,200 MW and when the demand also surged by 2,700 MW, then the total power shortfall raised to over 5,000 MW.
“However, when the plants closed for maintenance go operational, this temporary shortfall shall be recovered and there will be no forced or unscheduled load shedding. But, the scheduled load shedding shall continue.”
Khawaja Asif said from today (Wednesday) the Bhikki power plant started providing 760 MW uninterrupted power to the system while 6,400 MW power would be added to system by the end of current year.
The minister said it was miscalculation on the government’s part
about the heat wave as the power stations should have been closed for maintenance during March. However, the crisis would be overcome within next two weeks.
He said the government had promised to end load shedding before next election and it was working on different projects. Nandipur power plant had started already producing 525 MW while 3,600 MW power would come from liquefied natural gas (LNG) power projects, 600 MW from Sahiwal plant, 600 MW from Neelum Jehlum, 600 MW from Sahiwal-two, 435 MW from solar plants and 315 MW from Chashma-four.
He said around 3,000 MW power would also be added to system in the
start of next year as he stated that during last two years the government provided uninterrupted power to industry ensuring that poor labourers continued to earn living for their children. However, during Ramzan-ul-Mubarik, power to industries would remain suspended during Sehr and Iftar to facilitate domestic consumers, he added.
Answering a question, he said all the mentioned projects had been
started during the present government’s tenure as the only project of
the previous government was Nandipur power plant in which a lot of embezzlement was unearthed. In this regard, he mentioned to number of LNG, solar and wind power projects in different areas of the country.
Replying to another question, the minister said, situation at over 70 per cent of the feeders closed for non-recovery had improved and in many areas people started paying electricity bills.
To a question by an Awami National Party (ANP member, the minister said it was the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government that paid over Rs 70 billion to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as net hydel profit.
This amount could not be paid even when the ANP was in the government with the Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians, he added.