Fuel Shortage, Technical Faults

National Power Control Centre (NPCC) – the System Operator (SO) and an arm of National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) – has confirmed officially that about 5,000 MW power is out from the system due to fuel shortage and technical faults, which implies 10-hour loadshedding across the country.

However, the government has unleashed 10-15 hours in rural and 6-8 hours in urban areas as officially confirmed shortfall of 5,000 MW is over and above system constraints of NTDC, Discos and local faults.

NPCC has written a number of letters to Power Division and other concerned ministries about criticality of fuel stocks but arrangements were not made by the previous government nor the incumbent government, due to which the entire country is facing massive loadshedding.

According to sources, NPCC has apprised the government that due to severe heat wave prevailing in the country, the system load demand has increased drastically.

Consequently, power plants are being operated at full capacity to meet system load demand in addition to load management due to generation shortfall. This has resulted in excessive fuel consumption and fast depletion of fuel reserves (RFO/ HSD& coal) due to less replenishment as compared to consumption. Power plants have time and again communicated their apprehension regarding their inability to maintain obligatory fuel stock on account of non-payment by CPPA-G.

NPCC has also shared fuel stock replenishment and consumption at different power plants with the concerned quarters.

Recently, Sahiwal Coal Power Plant desynchronized unit # 02 (621 MW) on May 16, 2022 in addition to operation of unit # 01 on part load (330 MW) causing outage of 912 MW from the complex on pretext of low coal reserves.

Moreover, China Hub coal inventory is also depleting very fast which may eventually lead to generation outage from the complex. This will further aggravate the situation causing severe capability shortfall.

The total capacity on forced outage due to fuel shortage and technical fault as on May 16, 2022 was 4,933 MW. Of this, 3,572 MW capacity is under forced outage due to fuel shortage from May 16, 2022.

RLNG capacity of 1,050 MW is out from system since May 5, 2022, GTPS Faisalabad (5-9) 120 MW from December 13 2021, Jamshoro power plant 649 MW from April 18, 2022, Muzaffargarh 840 MW since April 8, 2022, Sahiwal coal unit- 1 292 MW, and unit -2, 621 are non-operational since May 16, 2002.

The sources said, 1,361 MW electricity is on forced outage due to technical fault which includes Port Qasim unit-2 of 621 MW since May 7, 2022, Uch-I, 195 MW since May 15, Genco-II (85 MW TPS Guddu unit -5) and Genco-II (90 MW TPS Guddu-8), since May 14. There is no definite date for these plants to restart operation. However, Genco-II (370 MW unit 14 of Guddu 747 MW) which is shut since February 12, 2021, is expected to be start operation from June 15, 2022.

NPCC argues that due to schedule outage of K-2 (for refueling), variability in RLNG supply to power sector and high system load demand, the availability of coal fired and RFO/HSD based power plants is of vital importance for the smooth operation of power system, and has requested the government to advise CPPA-G for necessary payments to all power plants well in time for building up their fuel stock as per their relevant PPAs and to avoid severe generation capability shortfall and additional load management in the ongoing scorching heat wave.

The availability of fuel stocks on following power plants is far less than their requirement: (i) Hubco 3,849 tons; (ii) Kapco (LSFO) 12, 275 tons; (iii) AES Lalpir, 5,609 tons; (iv) AES Pakgen, 1,250 tonns; (v) SABA, 1,678 tons; (vi) Atlas Power, 1,265 tons; (vii) HubcoNarowal, 2,383 tons; (viii) Liberty Tech, 3,880 tons; (ix) Nishat Power, 123 tons; (x) Orient Power (HSD) 1,214 tons; (xi) Halmore (HSD) 1,914 tons; (xii) Kapco-III (HSD) 41 tons; and (xiii) Baloki (HSD) 3, 169 tons.

Meanwhile, PSO has apprised the government that it has not received any confirmation by MoE (Power Division) regarding fuel requirement for June-August, 2022 till date.

Furthermore, as per letter no. 4(50)/2021-NTDC forwarded on May 06, 2022 LSFO demand is 131,907 MTs for the month of June, 2022, whereas KAPCO has confirmed to scrap the cargoes via letter of May 10, 2022 for the first fortnight (01-15) of June, 2022 and accordingly PSO will not award any LSFO cargo for the first fortnight and supply volume for the month of June 2022 will be reduced proportionally.

PSO has requested Power Division to confirm the HSFO requirement for the month of June, 2022 by May 12, 2022 enabling it to firm up its supply plan in order to avoid any untoward situation.

Last week, Power Division informed the Federal Cabinet that an unprecedented rise in international fuel prices had resulted in a substantive rise in the cost of generation. The price of coal, in particular, had increased from 9100 per M ton to $300 per M ton (May 22 US$ 300/M ton). To maintain the supply chain of coal, Rs 100 billion was required as an additional supplementary grant as equity in former WAPDA electricity Discos, over and above the budgeted and approved subsidies. This additional supplementary grant would be used to pay imported coal-based IPPs against their overdue payables for timely procurement of the coal inventory.

The Cabinet was informed that in case the required supplementary grant of Rs.100 billion was not approved, further purchase of coal inventory would be suspended till such time that international coal prices were substantially lower. This disruption of coal supply chain would result in stoppage of the IPPs (3900 MW). Consequently, about two-hour system-wide load-shedding would have to be scheduled in the month of June, three hours in July, and four in August.

The Federal Cabinet set up a Sub-Committee on Energy, under the chairmanship of Minister for Power to prepare a viable plan for load-shedding during the coming summer months, keeping in view the financial constraints. The plan to be submitted within 10 days, shall strike a balance between the proposed load-shedding duration in the urban and rural areas.

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