­Islamabad - A parliamentary committee was informed on Friday that electricity shortfall increased to 4,559MW in the first week of June despite the generation of 1,730 megawatts till June 2018 as compared to July last year.

The average demand in June this year increased by 8 per cent from 21,540MW in July 2017 to 23,301MW in 2018 and the generation increased by 10 percent from 17,012MW in July 2017 to 18,742MW in 2018, Power Secretary Yousaf Naseem Khokhar said while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Power.

The secretary said that shortfall slightly increased from 4,530 MW in July 2017 to 4,559MW during the first week of June 2018.

The senate committee that met with Senator Fida Muhammad in the chair deliberated upon the issues of loss-making Discos and a sustainable plan for financing these entities.

The committee was informed that the current generation was 18,742MW against the demand of 23,301MW.

Khokhar said that the shortfall should have been lower but due to low water flows, the hydel generation was almost 3,000MW which was less than the generation during the same period of the last year.

The official also admitted that the power system was unable to carry the entire electricity generation.

“It is practically impossible to say that the country is having a zero load-shedding,” the secretary said.

Khokhar said people on 62 percent feeders were facing zero loadshedding whereas consumers on category-2 and 3 were facing two hours load shedding during the month of Ramazan. He said that the government had also directed not to resort to load-shedding during Sehr and Iftar on those feeders where the losses were high.

He said that record 20,800MW electricity was produced this year but the power distribution system was unable to pick this power. He said that power distribution companies could not use this power due to constraints in the system.

He said that those power distribution companies facing high losses had no money to improve their power systems. He said Pesco, Hesco and Qesco were requiring Rs9 billion, Rs3 billion and Rs1.20 billion respectively to improve the power system. He said that these companies were unable to provide supply to the consumers despite having allocated electricity quota due to constraints in their distribution systems.

The power secretary said that the Power Division had demanded of the federal government to allocate Rs20 billion in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) to start development projects to improve their distribution systems but the government refused to allocate the amount. He said that the companies were also facing power theft and the Power Division had written letters to the chief ministers to cooperate to stop the theft. “But no government machinery was being used to counter this power theft,” he told the committee.

The Pesco chief said that their demand was 2,700MW but the power system was unable to use the electricity due to constraints in the system. He said that Pesco system could not pick more than 2100 MW of electricity.

Senator Sadia Abbasi demanded that different parts of the Sindh province should be provided electricity. Senator Maula Bakhsh Chandio protested over a delay in electricity schemes in remote areas of Sindh. The secretary Power Division said that there would be no benefit if even electricity schemes were initiated in Sindh due to power theft. He said that areas of Sindh were already getting less electricity due to the power theft.

A sub-committee headed by Senator Nauman Wazir was constituted to look into the matter further. The sub-committee will have Senator Chandio and Aurangzeb Khan as its members.

About transmission and distribution losses of distribution companies,  the committee was informed that the average losses for 2017-18 were 17% with Pesco having the highest losses of 36.6% followed by Sepco 35.7% and Hesco at 29.1%. Iesco was termed to be Disco with the lowest percentage of losses at 7.1%. The members of the committee raised question over 36 percent losses of Pesco. The Pesco chief said that power theft was at a peak in Pesco region and of total 992 feeders, 200 have 80 percent losses, while 400 feeders were facing 60 percent losses. He said that an amount of Rs9 billion was required to improve the power system.

Regarding the recovery of Discos, it was informed that Fesco has 100% recovery, Lesco, Gepco and Mepco have 98% and Iesco and Pesco 90% while Qepco was showed with the lowest recovery percentage of 24%.

The committee was informed that the construction work of 220KV Chakdara grid station and Mardan-Chakdara transmission line will be completed by 15 July and up-gradation of 132KV grid station Batkhela and feeder lines will be completed by 31 August.

The meeting was also attended, among others, by Senators Nauman Wazir Khattak, Muhammad Ali Saif, Aurangzeb Khan, Molvi Faiz Muhammad, Minister for Power Barrister Ali Zafar and CEOs of Discos.