mid a power shortage crisis already engulfing the country, 15 production units of the Tarbela power plant have been shut down – its administration attributing the problem to a reduction in water release from the dam because of the canal cleaning campaign.
Only two units of the power station are generating 340 MW of electricity. The problem at Tarbela has aggravated the already precarious power situation in the country.
Tarbela Dam is a major source of hydropower generation in the country with an installed capacity of 4,888 MW. According to the generation data, the electricity supply recorded on December 13 last year remained around 10,800 MW, against a demand of over 13,500 MW.
The level of power production and demand between the range of 10,500 MW-11,500 MW and 13,000 MW-13,500 MW was comparable with the supply and demand level achieved back in the year 2012. At the end of last year, the electricity shortfall had reached 4,321 MW in the country even in the season of winter, resulting in more unannounced power cuts. Power Division officials had said the total production of electricity in the country currently stood at 9,179 MW against the demand for 13,500 MW.
They had elaborated that 1,000 MW electricity was being generated from the government thermal power plants. Besides, 500 MW and 32 MW were being produced through hydroelectric and solar energy sources, respectively. The officials had added that the contribution of private sector power houses stood at 5,555 MW. The Power Division authorities said they were compelled to conduct load management because of the reduction of electricity from hydel sources.
A day earlier, the federal cabinet approved the National Energy Conservation Plan, introducing certain measures to ensure judicious utilisation of resources, including early closure of markets and restaurants and stopping unnecessary use of electric appliances in all government offices. Unveiling the salient features of the austerity plan at a media briefing after the cabinet meeting, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said energy saving reforms were being introduced across the country.
He urged the people to change their habits in order to conserve energy. “We need to change our lifestyle with reference to the use of energy. Our habits are different from the rest of the world. We generate our own energy, instead of natural energy, which incurs production cost,” the defence minister told reporters.According to the energy conservation plan, restaurants, hotels, and markets would close by 8:30pm, while wedding halls by 10pm.
Besides, the production of incandescent light bulbs and inefficient electricity fans would be stopped. The government also planned to levy additional duty on inefficient electric fans. “With this initiative [early markets closure], which has been taken in consultation with traders’ bodies, there will be a saving of around Rs62 billion.