VIEW: Where has all the power gone? —Naeem Tahir
Why are the existing power plants not made to work full swing? Is it true that the Chinese government has made offers to meet the national electricity requirement at Rs 300 per month?
There was some load shedding in 2007-08, but suddenly, after the new government took over, an acute shortage was discovered. Since then we have returned to a ‘dark’ age. It may be suggested that ex-president General Pervez Musharraf is responsible for it. The installed capacity in Pakistan is 19,855 MW, our current need is about 14,500 MW and even this is not being met. The shortage is 5,000 MW. What is the matter? We need to do a careful analysis.
Details of the installed capacity first. Electricity produced in Pakistan is from three main sources: 1) hydel, 2) thermal (gas/steam/furnace oil), and 3) nuclear. There are four major power producers in the country, which include the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC), independent power producers (IPPs) and Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC). Below is the break-up of the installed capacity of each of these power producers (as of June 2008).
a) Hydel power capacity: Tarbela 3,478 MW, Mangla 1,000 MW, Ghazi-Barotha 1,450 MW, Warsak 243 MW, Chashma 184 MW, Dargai 20 MW, Rasul 22 MW, Shadi-Waal 18 MW, NandiPur 14 MW, Kurram Garhi 4 MW, Renala 1 MW, Chitral 1 MW, Jagran (AK) 30 MW. Net hydel production by WAPDA comes to 6,461 MW. Hydel electricity generated by WAPDA varies between two extremities, i.e. between minimum of 2,414 MW and maximum of 6,761 MW, depending upon the river flows through the whole year.
b) Thermal power capacity: Gas Turbine Power Station Shadra 59 MW, Steam Power Station Faisalabad 132 MW, Gas Turbine Power Station Faisalabad 244 MW, Gas Power Station Multan 195 MW, Thermal Power Station Muzaffargarh 1,350 MW, Thermal Power Station Guddu 1,655 MW, Gas Turbine Power Station Kotri 174 MW, Thermal Power Station Jamshoro 850 MW, Thermal Power Station Larkana 150 MW, Thermal Power Station Quetta 35 MW, Gas Turbine Power Station Panjgur 39 MW, Thermal Power Station Pasni 17 MW. The net installed thermal capacity of WAPDA comes to about 4,811 MW.
WAPDA’s combined hydel and thermal capacity is 11,272 MW.
2) KESC thermal power capacity: Thermal Power Station Korangi 316 MW, Gas Turbine Power Station Korangi 80 MW, Gas Turbine Power Station SITE 100 MW, Thermal Power Station Bin Qasim 1260 MW. KESC’s total installed capacity: 1,756 MW.
3) IPPs thermal power capacity: Hub Power Project 1,292 MW, AES Lalpir Ltd Mahmood Kot Muzaffargarh 362 MW, AES Pak Gen Mahmood Kot Muzaffargarh 365 MW, Altern Energy Ltd Attock 29 MW, Fauji KabirWala Power Company Khanewal 157 MW, Gul Ahmad Energy Ltd Korangi 136 MW, Habibullah Coastal Power Ltd 140 MW, Japan Power Generation Lahore 120 MW, Kohinoor Energy Ltd Lahore 131 MW, Liberty Power Limited Ghotki 232 MW, Rousch Power Khanewal 412 MW, Saba Power Company Sheikhupura 114 MW, Southern Electric Power Company Ltd Raiwind 135 MW, Tapal Energy Limited Karachi 126 MW, Uch Power Ltd Dera Murad Jamali Nasirabad 586 MW, Attock Gen Ltd Morgah Rawalpindi165 MW, Atlas Power Sheikhupura 225 MW, Engro Energy Ltd Karachi 217 MW, Kot Addu Power Company Limited 1,638 MW. IPPs’ total installed capacity: 6,365 MW.
4) PAEC’s nuclear power capacity: KANUPP 137 MW, CHASNUPP-1 325 MW. PAEC’s total capacity: 462 MW.
The total power generation capacity of Pakistan (including all sources) is 19,855 MW and the electricity demand as of April 20, 2010 is 14,500 MW and all these producers put together are merely generating 10,000 MW.
The inconvenience caused to the domestic sector by the power shortage is immense. The loss of business and revenue is devastating. This is a crisis people have protested against repeatedly. The short cut that the government has found to get out of one crisis is to let another crisis happen — price hikes that are nerve shattering; target killings that destroy peace; food shortages raising the spectre of starvation; general economic meltdown, and so on. The democratic governments of today have used diversionary tactics fairly successfully, but they have failed in solving the people’s problems. This is a serious matter if the country is to be given decent governance. Sooner rather than later, these issues will need to be resolved and the key to many of these issues is electricity.
Looking back, one remembers the promise that the power crisis will be over by the end of 2009. The promise was false. Then we heard of solutions like rental power projects. Instead, why are the existing power plants not made to work full swing? Is it true that the Chinese government has made offers to meet the national electricity requirement at Rs 300 per month?
Ex-prime minister Shaukat Aziz must be asked why he did not add to the sources of power production, and why did the proposed dams get damned. Probably they will have some explanations. But what is the explanation for not utilising what we already have? Will somebody, some politician, some civil servant, or some technocrat, please tell us? We may be just worth a piece of paper called a ‘vote’ once in five years, but still please be magnanimous and tell us: where has all the power gone?
Naeem Tahir is a culture and media management specialist, a researcher, author, director and actor