Amid sizzling temperature of above 40 degree centigrade coupled with long hours, unannounced power outages have started adversely affecting people and industrial production owing to a substantial energy shortfall of about 600 megawatt in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa gripped by severe heat wave since the start of this month. As sun is spewing out severe heat, people in Peshawar’s peripheries, southern districts including Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan besides merged areas were witnessing the brunt of load-shedding for about 10-14 hours daily, especially on high loss feeders forcing consumers to install solar systems, purchase generators and UPS besides water pools to protect their loved ones from the scorching heat. Similarly, six to 10 hours load-shedding is being witnessed on medium lines loss feeders in urban areas of Peshawar, Charsadda, Mardan and Nowshera districts, making people’ lives miserable. “Since July 1, the hide and seek of electricity continued in my village Dheri Ishaq and adjoining areas in Nowshera district where six to 10 hours load-shedding was being made on daily basis despite regular monthly payments of electricity bill’s” said Misal Khan, Information Officer (Retd) while talking to APP. The low-voltage, trappings and fluctuations have added to peoples’ miseries, especially in rural areas besides causing burning of their expansive electrical appliances,’ he added. “Following significant rise in temperature, the electricity’s demands had increased manifolds in KP facing a shortfall of about 600MW being fulfilled through scheduled load shedding,” a senior official in PESCO’s Power Distribution Circle told the news agency. “Currently, KP contributes about 2,800MW electricity to the national grid whereas our demand is about 2,300MW out of which about 17,00MW are being received from the National Power Control System (NPCS),” he said. The PESCO official said the increase of power thefts cases, especially ACs direct hooks in Peshawar’s peripheries, DI Khan and Bannu districts as well as merged areas besides gas and oil related shortage issues were forcing the company to make extra load shedding on high loss feeders, he said. He said if the due share of 1,100MW was provided to KP, not only the menace of load shedding would be arrested but surplus energy would be available for domestic, agriculture and industrial consumers. Engr Shamsul Mulk, Former Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) said the main cause of the deepening energy crises was non-construction of major hydropower projects after Turbela dam. “The glaciers are melting fast due to climate change and I feared that the country would face a drought-like situation if big dams were not constructed by 2040.” He said construction of Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams were inevitable to ward off the looming energy, water and food crises. “Had Diamer Bhasha and Mohmand dams been constructed in the past, Pakistan would have 50,000 megawatt electricity today.” Engr Shamsul Mulk said approximately 40,000 medium and large-sized dams had been constructed around the world in the 20th century out of which over 7,500 were built by the US, 22,000 by China and 4,600 by India while Pakistan constructed a very limited number of small water reservoirs. Currently, the country is generating around 6,000 megawatts from hydel resources despite 50,000MW to 60,000 MW potential and suggested priorities to small dams, adding, their cost and time are efficient as compared to big dams. “Load shedding is the problem of all provinces and not KP specific. We have expedited work on different small, medium and big hydel, solar and other energy projects to tackle power outages that become serious issue in June-September,” said Engr Malik Muhammad Luqman, Senior Planning Officer, Power and Energy KP. He said approximately 6,000MW (33,000GWh) having power generation cost of about Rs 63 billion was being produced in the country against 50, 000MW hydropower potential including 30,000MW in KP. He said about 10,000 MW projects were in different stages of implementation with a potential to generate about Rs100 billion annual revenue and efforts were on to utilize the remaining 14,000 MW through construction of new hydropower projects and dams. He said 65 projects including 52 ongoing, costing Rs 3816. 480 million and 13 new of Rs 480 million were proposed and allocated for FY 2021. The new projects included construction of 132 KV grid stations at Bara Khyber, Sararogha South Waziristan of Rs 600 million, Tirah worth Rs1000 million, Shakus Khyber costing Rs 471 million and Rs 845 million for construction of 11 KV independent feeders along with transformers. He said 18 ongoing projects would be completed in the current fiscal year, adding, 36.6MW Daral Khwar HPP Madain Swat was completed and started electricity generation having an annual economic benefit of Rs 1.3 billion. Engr Luqman said Rs 85 billion worth 300MW Balakot HPP approved by Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) was ready for groundbreaking. The mega project would be constructed on River Kunhar in Mansehra with financial assistance of Asian Development Bank (ADB) for which consultants and contractors have been appointed. Three hydropower projects (HPPs) amounting of Rs 177.244 billion including construction of 96 MW Batakundi amounting of Rs 40 billion, 188MW Naran of Rs 70 billion Mansehra and 20.8 MW of Rs 7.224 billion would be developed with collaboration of International Finance Corporation (IFC) in Shangla. Feasibility studies of 20.8MW Shangla HPP have been completed and practical work would soon commence by Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organization (PEDO). “The government is in process of developing 496MW Spat-Gah HPP amounting US$ 1,015 million for which Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between KP Government having 26pc share and M/S Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Company (KHNP) with 74pc share has been signed.” PC-I of Gabral Kalam and Madyan HPP having power generation capacity of 245MW approved by ECNEC would be constructed with an estimated cost of Rs115 billion with assistance of World Bank for which land acquisition as well as award of contract process has been started. Modification in Malakand-III HPP amounting Rs 778 million has been initiated to generate additional 154 GWh electricity and Rs 382 million additional revenue annually. Mohmand Dam on River Swat, on completion, would generate 800MW electricity and store 1.2MAF water. Work on seven different HPP having cumulative generation capacity of 214MW including Koto 69MW, Karora 11MW, Jabori 10MW, Matioltan 84 MW, Lawi 69MW, Capri Charkhel 10.2MW and Barando 6.5MW with Rs eight billion annual economic benefits were in different stages of completion. Luqman said Malakand-III (81 MW), Daral Khawar (36.6MW), Ranolia (17 MW), Pehur (18 MW), Machai (2.6MW), Shishi (1.8MW) and Reshun (4.2 MW) with accumulative 161.2MW generation were commissioned to generate Rs5.4 billion revenue annually. The official said 332 mini macro hydropower projects (MMHPPs) with power generation capacity of 30 MW have been completed in 12 northern districts of KP benefiting over 140,000 people. KP Government has planned to construct additional 672 MMHPs worth US $ 237 million with assistance of Asian Development Bank under the Prime Minister’s Access to Clean Energy Investment Program (ACENIP). Work on solarization of 8,000 schools benefiting one lakh students, 4,000 mosques and 187 basic health units were accelerated under ACENIP. About 12.8 million units would be saved having Rs 203 million annual economic benefits after converting 4,000 mosques on solar energy. Feasibility study of Tanda dam in Kohat and Baran dam in Bannu costing Rs150 million would be carried out in next fiscal year to explore its potential regarding hydro power generation.