Surplus power in the country, Govt. bans new Power Generation Projects

On the assumption that there would be surplus power in the country after completion of on-going projects, the government has imposed ban on new power generation projects.

This decision was taken at a meeting of Cabinet Committee on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CCoCPAC) presided by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. The decision of the committee was endorsed by the federal cabinet on February 13.

According to the Power Division, total 10,400 MW electricity will be added in the system by June 2018, a promise made by the PML (N) government to end load shedding throughout the country except those areas where losses are higher than the benchmark of 10 per cent. According to Foreign Minister, Khawaja Asif, 30 per cent areas facing load shedding are due to losses.

Power Division, in its presentation to federal cabinet last month on power system constraints for upcoming summer and the requirement for up-gradation and transmission and distribution system in the country stated that for 132 KV lines, the peak demand would be 25,237 MW slightly less than 25,717 MW in summer 2017, and hopefully the government would be able to meet demand in summer 2018.

The work on 2×660 MW Sahiwal coal-fired power plant is completed, whereas 1300 MW ( 2×660 MW) Port Qasim coal-fired power plant is 85 per cent completed. 60 per cent work has been completed on 1320 MW ( 4×330 MW) Engro Thar coal-fired power plant and surface mine in block II of Thar coal field. 50 MW Dawood Wind Farm, 900 MW Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park in Bahawalpur, 100 MW Jhimpir Wind Farm and 50 MW Sachal Wind Farm are also completed. The 720 MW Karot hydropower project has achieved financial closure and 70 per cent work is completed. 873MW Suki Kinari Hydropower Project is also under construction. Also 2x660MW Rahimyar Khan Coal Power Plant is at feasibility stage. The much awaited 696 MW Neelum Jehlum hydropower project is also near completion and one of its units will start generation from next month. And 1410 MW Tarbela 4th Extension is also near completion.

Three RLNG-fired power projects i.e. 1180 MW at Bhikki, 1223 MW at Balloki, 1230 MW Haveli Bahadar Shah have been completed and passing through different processes.

During discussion on power generation projects being established under the CPEC, Secretary to Prime Minister Fawad Hasan Fawad maintained that there was no need of new projects as there would be surplus power in the country after completion of ongoing projects. He stated that emphasis should be laid on timely completion of ongoing projects.

He stated that he had raised the issue of transmission lines, time and again since existing transmission lines do not have the capacity to bear additional power load. He emphasized the need for transmission lines to enable the evacuation of power after Commercial Operation Date (COD) of power projects.

Recently, National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) imposed a fine of Rs 10 million on National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) on slow progress in transmission projects. NTDC, however, showed resentment at Nepra’s action.

Fawad further stated that 300 MW coal-fired power plant at Gwadar is being delayed on the pretext of environmental hazards.

Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, Ashan Iqbal apprehended that if the issue of water and power supply for Gwadar was not resolved prior to summer 2018, it would negatively affect the pace of the entire project. Moreover, it would give opportunity to the opponents of CPEC projects to exploit these issues for political gains.

After detailed discussion, the CCoCPAC decided that no new project shall be planned for additional generation. Special emphasis shall be given to complete all ongoing energy projects within their given timelines. Availability of transmission lines shall be ensured for evacuation of power from the power projects prior to their COD.

It was also decided that Power Division will ensure completion of Multan-Lahore HUDC line expeditiously, in complete synchronization with expected COD of Thar projects.