Fuel non-supply affects power generation badly, SC told

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Fuel non-supply affects power generation badly, SC told

ISLAMABAD:The Supreme Court has directed the Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) and other stakeholders to furnish the written reasons of loadshedding and non-supply of electricity to the consumers on May 9.

During the hearing of suo moto case regarding the unprecedented loadshedding in the country, the court was informed on Thursday that power generation had been badly affected due to the non-supply of gas and oil to the power sector.

Managing Director Pepco Zargham Ghulam Ishaq Khan appearing before a three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, apprised the bench that National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) purchases electricity form GENCOs and thermal generation source, saying after applying formula of mix and match consequently, the average per unit cost for consumers is Rs 11.91 which is reduced to Rs 8.88 per unit after subsidy of Rs 3.03.

He told that gas supply of 250 MMC had been reduced to the power sector; therefore, 1450 megawatts electricity was also decreased from the system.

The court was surprised when MD Pepco informed that the government had spent Rs 740 billions for the purchase of fuel in a year, likewise, subsidy of Rs 250 billions were also spent on power sector.

Upon this, the court observed that despite spending huge amount, why the government and its departments were failed to resolve the energy crisis. The Chief Justice observed that although shortage of electricity is problem, yet nobody was taking sincere efforts to overcome power crisis.

On the query of the court, MD Pepco said that they were purchasing oil from PSO, Shell, Caltex etc and the government still had to pay Rs 113 billions to PSO.

Referring the telecom sector, the court suggested the MD Pepco to introduce prepaid billing system in power sector for overcoming the issues regarding the non-recovery of electricity bills.

The MD Pepco told the bench that the government, in some area, had installed "smart meters" in this regard.

Likewise, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed also observed, "We have the largest canal system but no body considered to use it for the generation of electricity."

Upon this the Pepco MD responded that after 18th Amendment, the provinces could take decision regarding the use of canals water for the purpose.

The MD PEPCO apprised the bench that currently nine plants in the different localities of the country are producing a total of 3099 MW electricity, saying GENCO in Jamshoro is producing 700 MW, Guddu, 1100MW, Muzaffargarh, 1130MW, Lakhra, 30MW, Kotri, 140MW, Quetta, 25MW, Multan, 600MW, Faisalabad, 210MW, and in Shahdara, 15MW.

The court asked repeatedly from the PEPCO and AEDB authorities to educate the bench how electricity generation units in the country could produce according to their 100 per cent generation capacity.

The bench was told that after spending of $18.3 million on the Jamshoro plant for increasing its capacity more than four to five hours of its existing performance as 95 MW generation is expected which will reduce the current cost of $11.4 million per year.

Likewise, after financing of $19 million in Guddu plant, 55 MW would be the expected gain and availability would be noted to 4 to 5 more hours and a substantial reduce of $ 3 million in the existing cost.

He said that with the financing of $ 16 million for Muzaffargarh plant, expected gain would be 165MW (3 to 4 more hours of generation from its routine performance) whereas fuel cost saving per year would be $70 million.

Meanwhile, Chairman Alternative Energy Development Board Arif Allaudin appearing before the bench told that they installed a wind power project in Sindh, which would generate 106MW electricity. Likewise, he said that 30 projects of same nature were under process, which would produce 1100 megawatts.

The court, however, expressed dissatisfaction over the performance of this department, which has been working since 2004 in Pakistan. It directed the chairman Alternative Energy Development Board to submit the details regarding their effort to overcome energy crisis in the country.

The hearing of the case is adjourned until May 9.

Courtesy: The Nation

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