ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif was informed on Thursday that 27 power plants with a combined generation capacity of more than 7,000 MW are unable to operate due to technical problems or fuel shortages at a time when citizens across the country are facing power outages.
According to the News, the Ministry of Energy presented a list of these power plants during the briefing and blamed the lack of proper direction regarding fuel arrangements and lack of political support.
It was clarified that nine large power plants with a generating capacity of 3,535 MW are not functioning due to a shortage of fuel, including four plants that have been shut down due to a shortage of LNG, and two furnace oil. One is closed due to a shortage of coal, one due to low coal inventory, and the other due to the expiration of the gas supply agreement.
Former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who has held the portfolio of the Ministry of Petroleum in the past, pointed out during the briefing that there is a complete lack of coordination between the Ministry of Energy’s Petroleum and Power Division, and instead of wasting time on blaming the issue on a priority basis. But it must be resolved at the outset.
He suggested that the Power Division should immediately come up with a forecast of its demand to see what could be done immediately in consultation with the Petroleum Division and a mechanism for such planning and arrangements. It should be followed.
Prime Minister Sharif requested Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to volunteer his time and expertise and to advise both the divisions in this regard as it is a serious issue and cannot be ignored.
A source who attended the meeting said that the briefing of the Ministry of Energy looks like a charge sheet against the political leaders of the past as it was explained that there would be no shortage of electricity but the plants have been shut down due to fuel and technical constraints. ۔
The meeting was informed that the previous government did not take timely steps to rectify the technical faults or arrange spare parts for repairs nor did it follow proper maintenance procedures. Most of the faults were of administrative nature but Some included policy issues.
The Prime Minister expressed frustration over the overall situation and lamented that the citizens had to face hours-long load shedding across the country while the power plants were shut down for one reason or another. Should have been available for
Instructing the Power Division and the concerned companies to address these challenges immediately, the Prime Minister said that such negligence was unacceptable.
Sources said that the Prime Minister will hold a series of sessions of fuel and electricity providers and producers in the next two days.
According to a presentation, the 210 MW Liberty Power Plant has been shut down since December 18 due to the non-payment of funds by Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited’s non-payment of revolving loan funds.
In addition, four plants with a combined capacity of 1200 MW, including Rosh, Nandipur, Fuji Kabirwala, and gas turbine Faisalabad, have been out of the system since December 13 due to the unavailability of regasified LNG.
In addition, the 120 MW Habibullah Coastal Power Plant is also not functioning due to the expiration of the gas contract in October 2019. Apart from this, 550 MW Jamshoro and 840 MW Muzaffargarh plants are also not working due to the unavailability of furnace oil. Due to being closed since April 8.
It was not immediately clear how long the plants would remain out of the system.
The 620 MW coal-fired power plant in Sahiwal has not been operational since March 20 due to a shortage of coal but is expected to be operational again by April 20.
In addition, 18 plants with a total capacity of 3,605 MW are not functioning due to technical reasons and some of them have been out of order for more than a year.
The Prime Minister directed that all the shortcomings be rectified and immediately incorporated into the system.