Worst Electricity Load Shedding can be Expected During the Caretaker Government is In Charge

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In Pakistan the main task that care taker governments have to take on is getting the next General Elections done in free and fair manner. They are given about two months to prepare before elections and about one later for transfer of Pakistan to next Party.

There is so much happening with regards to elections and political parties, it  is very difficult to put attention on other matters. However, stable things keep running, but things like provision of non interrupted electricity is complicated in a way, that the governments leaving the power leave the power sector in big circular debt. This debt accounts for non payment of fuel to companies like PSO and also non payment to IPPs (Private Power Plants). So after they leave there is very less margin, so any more debt on fuel companies or IPPs, destabilize the whole system. In that case caretakers do not have enough power to release funds to bring things back to normal.

Recently before Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) left the office, the circular debt of power generation and distribution had climbed up to 922 billion. Almost double as compared to when the PML-N had come into the power. So not only we are standing at shaky situation but also the affects can already be seen.

Electricity Load Shedding PakistanThough there is chance of load shedding going to worse in next couple of months due to excessive circular debt. Already, the frequent tripping of electricity is started due to imbalance of generation and total load. These are the peak heat days, so does there is peak demand for power now a days, so maximum power generation plants must be running to meet the demand. According to PML-N in the recent promotions for elections, established that Pakistan already had power generation capacity of about 18000 Megawatts (MW) and they have added more capacity of about 11000 MW in these previous 5 years. By that logic we must now have capacity of 29000 MW right now.

But here is what happens, due to this circular debt PML-N led government left for us, it is impossible to run all the power generation plants. That means less electricity and more load, which translates to feeder level tripping of power. Hence, lots of unscheduled load shedding.

So finally what we have established here is, firstly PML-N in contrary to their promises were unable to finish the load shedding fully before leaving. And secondly they left us with lots of circular debt which could be huge problem specially during these days of caretaker government in charge, when releasing funds to coverup is not that easy.

Zero Load Shedding Claims of PML-N Led Pakistan Government Face Melt Down as soon as heat increased towards the end of May 2018

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One of main reasons because the people choose PML-N in general elections of 2013 was that they were fed up with load shedding and the empty promises made by Zardari led PPP (Pakistan Peoples Party) government. People had to bare 8 to 12 hours of load shedding in whole tenure of of PPP.

However, a main pillar of the election campaign of PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz) was to end the load shedding. Now load shedding in Pakistan do not entirely happen due to the lack of Power Generation Plants but a big factor in this regard is circular debt. The debt payable each month by WAPDA to firstly the fuel providers like PSO and secondly to Individual (private) Power Plants (IPPs). Now wapda is the main distributor of electricity in all over country and working with several sub entities to distribute electricity in each city like IESCO in Islamabad and LESCO in Lahore etc.

Now circular debt happens each month when WAPDA (Water and Power Development Authority) and its entities are unable to do the recoveries efficiently against the distributed power. Reason for those inefficient recoveries range from line losses to electricity theft.

When in 2013 PML-N took charge that circular debt was about 400 to 500 billion. They approached the problem of load shedding with respect to less power houses, all energies are used there and nothing special was done to curb the debt. Now fast forwarding to 5 years later, just few days ahead of end of term of PML-N, circular debt ballooned up to massive 922 Billions.

This very fact of increasing of Circular debt from 4/5 hundred to 922 billion in five years tells the whole story as, the PML-N did not thought through. They as well kept making those empty promises. They did added several new power plants to grid. But they were unable to think about all aspect.

With circular debt this high, this is obvious that a number of power plants will not be running, reasons include, fuel suppliers will cut the supply or cut to less quantity until the outstanding dues are clear, also several IPPs will push on for payment until they get full payment.

Now here is what would have happen on May 30th 2018, when weather got hot and load shedding gone through the roof with several areas facing 8 to 10 hours, several facing 4 to 8 hours of load shedding. The heat goes up on 30th 2018, so does the demand of electricity all over country, now government is already producing less electricity due to less fuel supply and shut off power plants due to circular debt, but that supply was coping with demand some how.

Now later on when heat and demand increase, it got difficult for government to meet demands with those few running power plants, so their claims face a melt down and on same time people face load shedding.

Even the zero load shedding claims of government are Mal-formed, they have actually divided feeders (Smallest distribution area unit name for electricity in Pakistan) into categories on base of line losses. The lowest losses feeders (under 10%) are Category one, 10 to 20% losses feeders are category 2,  20 to 30% come under category 3 and so on. So in cold months (which are also off-peak electricity demand months) only those feeders coming under category one had no load shedding. Category 2 had 2 hours of load shedding and third having more. Used same formula of more load shedding for feeders having higher category. Categories go up to 10.

Now line losses or theft is thing, which had to be dealt with by government. Unable to do that, they started punishing people on this and made line losses a base to do more load shedding in several areas.

So keeping in view, what we just learned in above two paragraphs, technically load shedding never ended in Pakistan in PML-N era, even in those cold months. And now in hot months, government, despite all those promises, finding it hard to cop with rising demand and hence resorting to Load Shedding once again.

Electricity Load Shedding Continues in 2018 in Pakistan Despite all those Promises

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In 2013 before coming into power, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) leader made many promises with people of Pakistan to end the load shedding for once and for all from the country. The Promises made by Shehbaz Sharif to end electricity load shedding ranged from six months to two and half years during his election campaign.

However, later after coming into power, the big brother, Nawaz claimed that the promises made during the election campaign were made in “Joshe Khitabat”, means there were emotions involved and in flow of speech he did made those promises. But also Nawaz Sharif and his team re-iterated that realistically the problem of Load Shedding will be solved three years time for sure. Which completed in about May 2016.

Fast forward to here in 2018, electricity load shedding still prevails. Even in off peak season of winter people had to bear the load shedding. In Jan, Feb and March and now on start of April, where I live we have experienced load shedding of two hours daily. And these are even off peak months.

Despite all the promises, which were not fulfilled obviously till now, short fall at the end of March 2018 was reported as 3000 MW, country wide, as per reported by dunya news here. Also another article of Pakistan Today here claims that shortfall may go up to 6000 MW very easily near or in the peak season, when heat is on top.

It is 2018, when people are thinking as big as colonizing the mars, probes from earth are gone as beyond as they are exiting the solar system, there is a country which is still fighting to fulfill its power needs, despite humongous potential of getting electricity using wind energy and many other sources. In such situations, we need to keep changing the people we choose to rule the country, until we find the ones who do get the real work done. Pakistan Zindabad.

Load Shedding in Pakistan and Summer 2015 in PMLN Era

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Load Shedding in Pakistan depictionMany things here in Pakistan Change with time but one thing which is stuck as worst issue to be addressed, is load shedding for Pakistani people. Before each elections in manifesto of each political Party, resolving the issue of Electricity load shedding in Pakistan is in top very few priorities.

In early 2013 when PMLN came into power they also had electricity load shedding as very important issue to be resolved. In many public addresses Mian Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shehbaz Sharif bragged that they will bring the lights back to Pakistan by resolving the worst issue of electricity load shedding.

But seems like the situation did not got much better after they came in Power. In beginning as they came in power issue was worse. Long hours (8 or more hours) of load shedding was going on in whole country. Now. after two years in month of August I see 6 hours of load shedding in major cities of Pakistan. In villages and remote areas however the situation is different, with worse load shedding which ranges from 8 to 22 hours. Now PMLN also connected the load shedding with how better bill recovery is from an area or a city but did not done much to improve those bill recovery rates(percentages).

For major cities just two hours in two years is not good at all. But in times of extreme heat these extra two hours vanish and take few more away with them, making while span from 10 to 12 hours in urban areas alone. Next couple of years are very important for PMLN to fulfill their promise with people of Pakistan and bring back electricity and make the load shedding go away. What they have done till now is not very promising but next two years will decide their fate while they decide whether or not to provide electricity to people of Pakistan.

Electricity Load Shedding Worsens on Start of Summer 2015

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Power Load Shedding in PakistanWinter 2015 have been worse in terms of load shedding. There have been massive load shedding, despite the fact that winters have off-peak demand for electricity. And despite all those pre-election claims of PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz) about ending the load shedding, the situation just gone worse in winters. We witnessed load shedding of 8 to 14 hours and sometime worse.

Now we are on verge of summer 2015, when the demand of electricity is on its peak. It is just mid of April 2015, the weather have just started to get hot and load shedding is already increased to 10 to 16 hours in normal routine. Which is as same as about last year, there seems to be no progress at all. Pakistan’s peak requirement of electricity normally in summers is no more than 18000 MW (Mega Watts). According to a Wikipedia article about power plants in Pakistan, Pakistan have installed capacity of generating more than 23 GW (Giga Watts), which is 23000 MW.

So, there are other factors which government have not been able to manage in almost two years of its tenure, which include the circular debt as well as provision of fuel to power generation plants.

Circular debt keeps getting bigger when government does not ensure the recoveries against the electricity it provided to certain individuals or organizations. When PMLN came into power, WAPDA (Water and Power Distribution Authority) was facing circular debt of about 200 billion Pakistani Rupees, Government paid that from treasury and lessened the debt to near none. But than again they did not made prompt recoveries to keep it none, it grown and grown again.

One other reason is, according to same Wikipedia article mentioned above, lots of Pakistani power generation plants run on Natural gas. So as we know, Pakistan have lately been facing the shortage of Natural Gas, some of these plants have not been running. There were several import options being considered when this government came into power. One notable is Pakistan and Iran pipe Gas Pipe line. Half of work had been done, reportedly the Iran side of Pipe was complete. But PMLN led current government did not pursued the project, eventually ending in severe gas shortage, which affected power generation too.

Also, to deal with that gas shortage PMLN government did worked on importing LNG (Liquified Natural Gas). It was delayed very much but in the end, it was success and ship actually came in and docked to port to offload Natural Gas. Now government have also allowed private parties to import LNG. But than again the question is, why even after import of LNG is started, we have to face load shedding?. Why is it not provided to all those plants to generate the electricity to meet our needs.

What I think from all this scenario is, PMLN led government is saving on fuel, by not running or running less of power plants run by Oil and Gas. Their Number One priority is NOT the power. They are more indulge on other stuff like roads and transportation. That is all good but in today’s era, Load Shedding of Electricity must not simply exist in any part of world. From all over 200 countries of world there are only two to three countries which face this today. Pakistan have all the resources to keep running electrical appliances of people round the clock.

If government is really serious in resolving the power issue, Pakistan will not have an hour of electricity load shedding in year 2016. But if you ever witnessed in 2016 or later, please understand, we were being mislead and no one put attention on solving this humongous problem of people of Pakistan.

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