AHMAD AHMADANI

ISLAMABAD - Unparalleled and terrible darkness is likely to further worsen in the coming days as IRSA has reduced the outflow from the water reservoirs by 35000 cusecs, decreasing the hydel power generation in the country to 2200MW.

Sources in Indus River System Authority (Irsa) informed that reduced outflow from water reservoirs is because of annual canal closure. They said that outflow from Mangla Dam is 15000 cusecs while 15000 cusecs is the outflow of Tarbela Dam, which has decreased hydel power generation. Due to decrease in demand from the provinces, water outflow will be further lessened by 15000 cusecs during the current week.

It was also learnt that water level at Tarbela Dam is 1472.78 feet while inflow is 18700 feet and outflow is 20000 cusecs. At Mangla Dam, water level is 1148.05 feet while inflow is 6449 feet and outflow is 10000 cusecs. Inflow at Chashma Barrage is 33560 cusecs feet while outflow is 8782 cusecs and at Kalabagh the inflow is 21826 cusecs and outflow is 17326 cusecs. Similarly, water inflow and outflow at Head Maralla on the Chenab is equal i.e. 6064 cusecs while a 3000 cusecs of water is being provided to the Punjab province from Chashma Jehlum Link Canal, sources added.

Sources informed that collective shortfall of electricity has touched 4000MW due to reduction in electricity generation, both hydel and thermal by Independent Power Producers (IPPs). Due to this shortfall, power loadshedding in cities has increased to eight hours in the cities while 14 hours in rural areas of the country. Further, reduced power production by IPPs and annual canal closure has also widened the demand and supply gap, adding to the woes and worries of the power consumers. Power crisis will further increase to rub salt on the injuries of power consumers and might touch the alarming figure of 5500MW in January, sources added.

It is relevant to note that IPPs, confronted with extreme financial crunch in country’s history, have now sought hefty Rs160 billion payment from the money-starved government before 31st December to avoid severe loadshedding in the country. Overall overdue payment of IPPs has surged to Rs 266 billion wherein Rs 50 billion is under capacity payment and Rs 216 billion is energy payment. Thus, unprecedented and horrifying darkness is going to prevail in the coming days due to closure of canals, ever-soaring massive circular debt and heavy liabilities of power sector of the country.

It is worth mentioning here that judicious releases from Irsa for meeting the crop water requirements is necessary, while having due consideration to generate maximum possible electricity from hydel resources during canal closures has persistently highlighted the need of more reservoirs. Similarly, the power generation entities should also be asked to build sufficient reserves of oil so as to mitigate the affects of less hydel generation during annual canals closure.