15-18 hour power outages in small Pakistani towns

December 29th, 2008 - 2:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Dec 29 (IANS) Small Pakistani towns are undergoing outages of 15-18 hours to enable electricity supplies to larger cities, with the power utility saying the de-silting of canals has resulted in hydel production dropping by a whopping 6,100 MW against the installed capacity of 6,500 MW.”In order to supply electricity to major cities of the country, the Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) is conducting 15 to 18-hour power outages in cities with a lesser population,” Daily Times reported Monday.

“Currently, the company has reduced the quota of distribution companies (DISCOS), including Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (FESCO), Gujranwala Electric Power Company (GEPCO), Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (HESCO) and Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO),” it quoted PEPCO sources as saying.

“These DISCOS are conducting power outages of 15 to 18 hours in the urban areas in their jurisdiction and of 18 to 20 hours in the rural localities,” the sources added.

They said PEPCO was accommodating Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO), Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) and Multan Electric Power Company (MEPCO), as these were the major DISCOS. The increased quota to the three companies allows them to enforce outages of only 8-10 hours.

PEPCO sources said the major reason for the prolonged outages was the closure of canals across the country for de-silting.

The Indus River System Authority has reduced water flow from Mangla and Tarbela reservoirs prior to the announced schedule, in which it said that canals would be closed from Jan 1, 2009.

The de-silting drive has affected hydel power generation in the country, which has plummeted sharply from the maximum capacity of 6,500 megawatts, Daily Times noted.

It quoted sources as saying hydel power generation was contributing only 400 MW, while 6,500 MW was being produced through thermal power plants owned by PEPCO and independent power producers against an electricity demand of 11,500 MW.

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