“I am pleased to announce that from December 4, 5,297 feeders, out of the total 8,600, will have no loadshedding ,” Power Minister Awais Leghari told a press conference.
These 60 percent feeders provide energy to 60.7 percent (14,915,221) consumers across the country and fall in the Category 1 – wherein the losses are not more than 10 percent, he further said.
The minister said the system has 2,700MW surplus electricity but it was not being used only to minimise losses as around 40 percent feeders are less efficient, causing more loss of energy than 10 percent.
He said: “I feel honoured to announce that Pakistan after struggling for almost four and half years, under the leadership of present government of the PML-N, has been able to push the country from darkness towards progress and prosperity.
“I am also pleased to apprise you that many of our power generation projects of approximately 4,000MW are in various stages of completion and will start generation before summer 2018,”the minister added.
“In the summer 2017, our system generation availability reached to the record level of 20,000MW against a demand of 24,000MW, which will reach more than 25,000MW in the year 2018.”
The minister claimed the price of electricity was going down after the induction of the RLNG-based power plants in the system.
The Discos feeders have been divided in seven categories starting from those up to 10 percent losses to those having 70 percent losses, the minister explained.
Category 1 includes 326 feeders having losses within the permissible limits as well as 4,971 feeders having up to 10 percent losses above the third party/Nepra allowed losses, the minister added.
From today 15 million meters that fall in this category will have no loadshedding , other than the outages for scheduled maintenance, he said. Earlier, these feeders were facing two to four hours of loadshedding , he added.
“We have also devised special load-management schedule for feeders having more than 10 percent losses. This schedule is only made to control the losses, otherwise we have enough electricity generation to meet the entire system’s demand,” Leghari said.
As per this plan the four to six hours of power outages for the feeders with 10 to 20 percent losses and 20 to 30 percent losses is being reduced to two hours, he said. But feeders with 80 percent losses would still face 14 to 18 hours of loadshedding , he added.
Giving the detail of loadshedding-free feeders, the minister said that feeders with zero loadshedding in Lesco area are being increased from previous 58 feeders to 1,227 feeders, for Gepco from 12 to 748, Fesco from 20 to 896, Iesco from 72 to 710, Mepco from 54 to 763, Pesco from 60 to 309, Hesco from 10 to 204, Sepco from 8 to 24, Qesco from 12 to 61, and the Fata from zero to 29 feeders.
Talking about the electricity generation, demand, shortfall and loadshedding scenario in 2013, he said that in December 2013 the electricity generation was 9,279MW while system demand was 11,799MW “and even in December we were having a shortfall of 2,520MW” that resulted in eight to 10 hours of loadshedding during winter.
“Our electricity generation availability in Dec 2017 has been increased by 7,465MW to the level of 16,477MW with a surplus of 2,727MW against a demand of 14,017MW. So we have moved from shortfall to surplus and we have also been able to meet the additional demand of 2,218MW during the month of December,” Leghari said.
“Since the country is now having surplus electricity, it is now high time to announce lifting loadshedding in the country where we can afford,” he said.
Challenges and remedies
“Right now we have surplus electricity in the system besides meeting the system’s demand. We are however constrained by losses due to multiple factors including power theft, non-payment of bills and administrative issues at Discos level, due to which we have to lift loadshedding on feeders where losses are at a certain percentage,” the minister said.
“Basically we are trying to inculcate habit of compliance among the consumers , besides taking stringent decisions for our own staff at Discos-level. The electricity can neither be produced nor distributed free-of-cost, so we have to eliminate power theft and all other means contributing towards losses in the system,” he said.
There should also be a difference between the consumers who are paying their bills and are not involved in power theft, and those who are not paying their bills and also inflicting losses to the system, Leghari said.
For if we do not place such differentiation, the per-unit cost of electricity will increase for the consumers who are regularly paying their bills, he said.
Owing to these reasons we are compelled to announce lifting of loadshedding for feeders where losses are at certain level. We have prepared a comprehensive course of action to deal with power theft, recovery of bills and removal of administrative inefficiencies. The Discos have already been tasked accordingly, Leghari announced.
The minister also announced the abolition of urban-rural disparity in loadshedding , and said that henceforth all feeders within the requisite parameters would be equally treated.
Replying to a query, he said that the punishment for overbilling and wrong billing was three years in prison.