Islamabad - The water and power ministry has clarified a news story of The Nation titled “Govt producing loadshedding”, claiming that the story is misleading, carries incorrect data and is devoid of technical information.

In a rebuttal sent to this newspaper, the ministry spokesman alleged the reporter of attributing wrong statements to the ministry and claimed that the writer based his story on routine maintenance closure of power plants and tried to blur the outstanding performance of the power sector in 2015 after so many years of underperformance.

This year the record generation of 16890MW was reached making the optimum use of the GENCOs and IPPs making it the highest generation in power sector’s history, he said. The spokesman said that many eligible plants were kept closed and the available generation was lost deliberately. This shows a complete lack of knowledge of the current situation where the NPCC (National Power Control Centre) runs all the available generation plants on Merit Order based on cost of generation. The Merit Order list is available on the web and is updated every fortnight.

The plants mentioned by the writer are those which were either decommissioned permanently due to redundant plants which are beyond repair, or which now have become so de-rated that theywould run on exorbitantly high cost which will be a disadvantage for the consumers. There is another category of IPPs which are in long drawn litigations over the advances/claims of billions against which they did not supply the required electricity.

The spokesman said that the mentioning of permanently decommissioned plants in his report shows the lack of knowledge or malafide of the reporter. The plants of Shahdara Lahore, GTPS Multan and SPS Faisalabad fall under that category.

The three IPPs mentioned by the reporter, are under litigation since past several years over a dispute of billions of rupees and have, time and again used various forums and media men to put pressure on the government to give up its claims against them and cause losses of billions to the exchequer and allow these plants (totaling 300MW) to run at the national cost.

The ministry spokesman said that the above facts were told to the reporter when he contacted him but the reporter failed to comprehend the facts and went ahead with presumed and baseless allegations.

The spokesman said that the AES Pakgen is closed due to step up transformer fault and it’s complete record is available with the NTDC, NPCC and the ministry of water and power. Similarly, all the plants get scheduled outages to meet the maintenance requirements from time to time and it is impossible to run 100 percent capacity all the time.

The spokesman further said that the reporter’s lack of knowledge about power plants is further revealed by the fact that he could not understand the difference between installed capacity and available capacity of a particular plant. The news item mentioned that some GENCOs are producing lesser as compared to their capacity. This is in fact the derated capacity which is a known factor in power plant operation. Installed generation capacity derate with the passage of time and it is always lesser after every year of operation. 

He said it was explained to the reporter that due to this merit order since last November 2014, the per unit price of electricity has shown regular decrease. The same also resulted in saving of hundreds of metric tons of furnace oil and billions in foreign exchange. The same benefit was also passed on to the consumers in the shape of monthly fuel price adjustment to the tune ranging from rupees 2 to 4 per unit in their monthly bills.

The spokesman said that during this year the power sector produced record electricity to the tune of 16890MW, bringing its 90 percent of possible generation capacity online. He urged that bringing of 90 percent generation capacity into utilization is the highest mark that can be compared with any modern power system of the world.

The spokesman further said that a statement has also been wrongly attributed to him regarding prices of LNG as neither was it discussed nor was it part any question put to him by the reporter.

The ministry spokesman said that the reporter  had totally ignored another benchmark achieved by the ministry which kept zero loadshedding in industrial sector since Nov 2014 (except for January and Ramazan), after so many years 10-12 hours of loadshedding. This achievement will go a long way in in providing jobs and economic opportunities, he held. The ministry has again passed on instructions for zero loadshedding in industries throughout the country till December 2015, he added.