ISLAMABAD: On Friday, it was claimed by Federal Ministry for Water and Power to have restored the supply of power to all the major cities after the reports of a power breakdown in all over the country where it was reported that almost 70% of the country got affected.
Reports suggested large sections of the country, approximately 70 per cent, according to National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) which lacked power supply after a 220KVA transmission line tripped in Punjab’s Muzaffargarh district, earlier on Friday.
Over 15 power plants were rendered non-functional as a safety precaution when the transmission lines tripped, preventing the national grid from tripping, whereas Various areas in the four provinces, including Azad Jammu and Kashmir suffered a power breakdown at around 9:30 this morning.
Pakistan has vast potential to harness clean energy including wind, solar and hydropower. Currently the country generates over 70pc of its electricity from imported thermal fuel putting a severe strain on the country’s finances. So, growing investment in the wind power is positive and an important step towards balancing the energy mix, pointed out M. Ismail Khan, from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) which is a major lender to Fauji Foundation’s wind farms.
The ADB sees power as the main constraint for economic growth, stressing better load-management to minimize commercial losses.
The country has an installed electricity capacity of 22,797MW, but production stands at a dismal 12,000MW. In recent years, electricity demand has risen to 19,000MW.
About 25pc of power is lost through inefficient distribution networks, poor infrastructure, mismanagement and theft of electricity and this need to be fixed.
Power shortage in the industrial sector has in the last few years translated into loss to economy to the tune of 2pc of the GDP.
While on the one hand “one of the major challenges in this regard is the security situation of the country because of which foreign investors are reluctant to come to Pakistan; on the other hand the investment capacity of local banks to lend the projects is not that huge.
As for technology, Pakistan needed to develop its own indigenous capacities towards research and development regarding renewable energy.
The National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) that operates and maintains the entire network of 41 grid stations and over 12,000 km of transmission lines owned by Pakistan’s Water and Power Development Authority is unable to keep pace with the new technology and has to upgrade its weak and crumbling infrastructure.
A combination of bad governance, poor maintenance and non-professional bureaucratic management at the ministerial level is how power sector experts explain last year’s national electricity breakdown, fourth of its kind over the past 48 days.
The events of the breakdown created a sense of déjà vu and also explained general failure of governance, particularly in the power sector.