ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government has failed to keep its promise of ending load shedding from the country as the tenure of the government is about to end in two days and there is no meaningful respite for electricity consumers as Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Tuesday warned of likely power shortfall during the scorching summer heat in the months of June and July.
Addressing a press conference at the PM House, along with Minister for Power Awais Leghari and Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb to present his government’s performance in the energy sector, PM Abbasi said that the likely electricity shortfall in the upcoming months will be because of low water inflow in the dams.
He said that the hydropower electricity generation had decreased by 3,000 megawatts (MW) in the current month as compared to the corresponding period last year due to a low water supply to the dams.
“Water inflows to the rivers have witnessed up to 60 per cent decrease, causing a reduction in hydel-power generation that currently stands at 3,000MW in the country,” said the premier.
It is pertinent to mention here that announcement by the prime minister comes as the government earlier announced an increase in the petroleum prices, which will directly affect the electricity prices as power production in the country relies on hydel and petroleum resources.
Furthermore, PM Abbasi said that a minor shortfall of about 362MW is likely to be faced next month, adding that the demand is expected to be 22,538MW and generation 22,175 MW. He said that in July, a shortfall of about 403MW is expected in July due to a decrease in water supply.
He, however, said that after July, the country will have surplus energy.
About the transmission system of country’s electricity, the premier admitted that there were problems in the power transmission system and further investigation was being made to improve the situation.
PM Abbasi further claimed that availability of electricity during this Ramazan was much better than that of the previous years. “There is zero load shedding in 90 per cent areas during the peak hours and two to four hours load shedding is being carried out in the 10 per cent feeders where high losses are reported,” said Abbasi.
Contrary to the claim, however, intermittent power outages were reported from various cities including Lahore, where households were left without power during the peak hours in major areas of the city like Gulberg and Johar Town.
The premier went on to say that keeping in view the future demand, the government has addressed the electricity issue. He said that 10,687MW will be added to the national grid in the next three years while another 17,119 MW will be generated in the following five years. The government has initiated projects to meet the country’s energy demand till 2025, said PM Abbasi.
“PML-N government has successfully overcome the challenge of power shortage by adding 11,461MW of electricity to the national grid,” said the premier.
He further said that the country’s power generation capacity increased from 18,753MW in 2013 to 28,704MW this year, adding that in July 2013, 9.9 billion units of electricity were produced whereas, in July this year, the actual production will rise to 14.6 billion units, showing an increase of 4.7 billion units.
About the electricity demand and supply situation, PM Abbasi informed that power consumption increased by 45 per cent during the last five years and though additional electricity was being produced, electricity demand rose 25 per cent. “The highest electricity demand was recorded yesterday at 24,800MW which is a record,” the PM added.
The prime minister also said that the Council of Common Interests (CCI) has approved Pakistan’s first ever water policy which is to be implemented now, and two water reservoirs namely Bhasha and Mohmand dams are to be built to meet the water challenge in the country.
Replying to a question, the PM also claimed, “We are going to leave less circular debt than we inherited in 2013.”
PM APOLOGISES TO REPORTER:
The premier, however, had an argument with reporters over their queries regarding continuing power outages.
PM Abbasi said that journalists should ask questions instead of delivering lectures. At this, a reporter told the prime minister that he was going home after completing his term and they were not the ones sending him back.
After listening to the objection, Abbasi apologised to the journalists over his sentence.
Earlier, PM Abbasi urged the people to keep the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) achievements in mind when they vote in the general elections later this year.
He was addressing a ceremony after visiting Havelian-Thakot motorway project in Havelian. The motorway starts from Havelian and passes through Abbottabad, Mansehra, Shinkiari, before terminating at Thakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
He also announced the establishment of Hazara Electric Supply Company on the occasion.