By Muhammad Ahmad Noorani
ISLAMABAD: The facts and figures regarding electricity generation and its consumption in 2007 and the first five months of 2008 prepared by PEPCO show the present electricity crisis in Pakistan is the result of some carefully managed mismanagement for attaining certain objectives.
Even the top professionals attached with the power sector smell a rat at the mismanagement done by not making payments to the Generation Companies (GENCOs) and the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and not performing certain tasks in time deliberately on the direction of some hidden hands to create a fake crisis for certain objectives.
There was not an energy crisis in the country in the years 2006 and 2007 and even there were not any signs of such a big and long crisis in the air. According to the figures presented by PEPCO to a Standing Committee of the Senate last month, the power generation capacity of all the production units in January 2007 was 11,039 MW while the total demand was 12,093 MW with a deficit of 1,054 MW.
In Feb 2007, the generation was 12,552 MW, the demand was 11,590 MW and surprisingly there was surplus production of 962 MW. In March 2007, the production was 11,171 MW, consumption was 12,311 MW with a deficit of 1,140 MW.
In April 2007, the production was 13,002 MW, the consumption was 13,843 MW with a deficit of only 841 MW. Comparison of these figures with the last months of 2007 and the first few months of 2008 tell a different story. In October 2007, the production was 13,492 MW, consumption was 13,737 MW, while the deficit was only 245 MW.
In November 2007, the production was 11,590 MW, consumption demand was 12,401 MW with a deficit of only 811 MW. On November 3rd 2007, the then Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) imposed emergency and sacked about 60 judges of the superior judiciary. “A strong demand from all circles of the society was raised to restore all the judges sacked unconstitutionally, and the mighty establishment started to play its role by creating many other fake crises to de-prioritize the real demand,” many professionals attached with political and power sector say.
After the proclamation of emergency in Nov 2007, suddenly a fake crisis was created and the production in December 2007 was suddenly reduced to 9,679 MW, the consumption remained almost the same as it was in Nov, 12,154 MW and thus the deficit touched its peak and suddenly reached 2,475 MW.
In Jan 2008, the production was 9,104 MW, the demand was 12,255 MW, which was not much higher than that of the demand in Jan 2007, but the deficit now was 3,151 MW. In Feb 2008, the production was 10,122 MW, the consumption was 12,123 MW while the deficit was 2001 MW.
In March 2008, the production was reduced to 9,856 MW, the consumption was 13,010 MW and the deficit reached the point of 3,154 MW.
In April, the production was 11,300 MW, the consumption was 15,000 MW and the deficit touched the highest point ever in the recent years i.e. 3,700 MW.
Former railways minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told The News on Friday that in the last days of the Shaukat Aziz government, whenever he approached the prime minister and complained to him about the non-availability of gas, flour and electricity, the situation became normal for some days and gas and electricity load-shedding diminished. “But, after three or four days of my visit to the prime minister’s office, the situation again became worse. I want to say that the crisis was fake and was managed by some hidden hands who I do not know,” Sheikh Rashid said.
Former chairman PEPCO, Munnawar Baseer, when approached by The News on Friday, said that the major reason for the present crisis was stopping of payments to GENCOs and IPPs, which had lowered the production by 1,500 MW.
Secondly, he said, reduction in hydel production had also lowered the production by more than 500 MW. He said that the government was moving ahead with some mature planning to sort out this issue.
He explained at the end of the last year and the start of the running year, there was a mismanagement of the highest level in all the departments of the government concerned with the power sector. He said that he couldn’t say that all this was done for achieving some objectives “but it is sure that mismanagement was and is being done intentionally”.