ISLAMABAD - Amid countrywide worsening power outages coupled with cash starvation like situation at the government’s end, hours long loadshedding to continue in near future as Pakistan State Oil (PSO) has so far not received the required money to import furnace oil for power generation companies.

Since the government has so far not given the required amount of Rs74 billion to state-owned oil giant PSO to arrange furnace oil for the months of April and May and even it has no cash plan at hand to pay money to the PSO against supplies of oil for power plants, so it seems that scheduled and unscheduled load shedding would spiral up with a gradual rise in the mercury and the masses would have to bear its heavy brunt. The phenomenon of electricity outages has picked up drastically, as rural areas face up to 18 to 20 hours of power cuts and urban areas 16 to 18 hours of outages, said sources in water and power ministry. 

Earlier, international financial institutions (IFIs) including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB) etc had expressed their serious displeasure over rollback of power sector reforms and heavy subsidies being given to the power sector. Even, they all have declined to give more loans to the power sector of the country to end power outages from the country.

According to a senior Wapda official, at present total power generation is around 9,200MW in the Wapda/ Pepco system against the demand of 12,200MW, resulting in a shortfall of over 3,000MW. Hydel power generation is 3070MW, Gencos 1480MW, independent power producers (IPPs) 4650MW. About 620MW power is being supplied to the KESC to reduce hours-long power outages in the economic hub of the country. To manage the shortfall, power utility companies have resorted to massive electricity cuts of almost 8-10 hours in urban and 14-16 hours in rural areas. In the twin cities - Islamabad and Rawalpindi - load shedding persists for eight to ten hours. Nevertheless reduction in supply of furnace oil has further given way to the increasing shortfall.

The Wapda official says reduced water releases from Tarbela and Mangla dams coupled with reduced oil supply to power plants have played a critical role in worsening the power situation in the country.

When contacted with a senior official of PSO to know about the financial woes of the company, she told that major receivables of the company stands at Rs126,803 million while its liabilities are witnessing Rs108,355m including Letters of Credit L/Cs payments to KPC and other fuel oil suppliers. She also told that oil supply fell to 1,600 tonnes against the minimum requirement of 25,000 tonnes.

Sources in PSO also said that the company requires Rs37 billion for each month to import furnace oil for power generation but the government has so far not paid a single penny to arrange furnace oil for power plants of the country.

Energy experts say the caretaker government is required to put serious efforts to ensure adequate and sustainable power supply instead of relying on reshuffling of officials ostensibly to offset the crisis.