News Column

Power generation up by 8pc to 7,720GWh

May 30, 2014

Salman Abduhu

The monthly power generation in the country during first 10 months of the fiscal year 2014 averaged 7,720GWh versus 7,241GWh, showing an increase of 6.6 per cent. However, as a result of gas shortage in the country, average monthly generation from gas (second most commonly used fuel) dropped 12% to 1,516GWh versus 1,722GWh in 10MFY13.

According to latest figures, biggest contribution came from Furnace Oil-based generation which increased by 15% or 383GWh (monthly average), while its share in total generation increased to 39% in 10MFY14 versus 36% in corresponding period last year. On month-on-month basis, power generation stood at 7,062GWh in April 2014 versus 6,531GWh in the previous month; up 8.1%.

According to energy experts, Pakistan is producing 36% of electricity from oil, 29% each from gas and water and 5% from nuclear plants. Unlike the global practice of producing electricity through the cheapest energy sources, Pakistan is banking heavily on expensive oil to meet its energy needs.

Globally, 41% of electricity is produced with the help of coal, 21% through gas, 16% through hydel source, 13% through nuclear, 5% through oil and 3% through other renewable sources. While Pakistan is far better in average global hydroelectric power production, it is way behind in coal power as it produces just 1% from this source.

In contrast, India and China churn out 68% and 79% of electricity through coal respectively. According to them, the gap between demand and supply of electricity in Pakistan has peaked to around 7,000 megawatts. Population growth, increased urbanisation and higher demand for luxury appliances have taken domestic power consumption to a staggering 46% of the total supply.

On the other hand, industry-installed power generation capacity has increased at the compound annual growth rate of 4.4% over the last four years. According to experts, because of deterioration in infrastructure and generation capacity, electricity deficiency would continue to remain in place over the medium term. Pointing to the inefficient transmission and distribution system, they said it caused a loss of about 25% because of poor infrastructure, mismanagement and theft of electricity.

These inefficiencies were costing the taxpayers Rs2.7 per unit over and above the cost of generation - averaging around Rs12 per unit. Power theft alone amounts to Rs140 billion annually. Recent data suggests HUBC’s base plant in Hub (Baluchistan) produced 749GWh (86.6% load) versus 595GWh (66.6% load) in March 2014 (up 26%). On the contrary, generation from HUBC’s Narowal remained almost unchanged at 139GWh. Vahaj Ahmed, an energy expert, said that HUBC incurred heavy expenditures in its drive to carry out major overhauling on one of four boilers at its base plant during 1HFY14. As a result, average monthly power generation from its base plant stood at 594GWh (67.9% load) in 10MFY14 versus 653GWh (74.5% load) in 10MFY13; down 9%.

As for its Narowal plant, average monthly power generation stood at 130GWh (83.5% load) in 10MFY14 versus 82GWh (52.5% load) in similar period last year.

As per company’s management, major overhauling of the remaining three boilers at HUBC’s base plant will start next month and is expected to be completed by March 2015.

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Source: Nation (Pakistan)

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