KARACHI: Pakistan’s electricity generation increased by around seven percent to 115,862 GWh in the first 11 months of the current fiscal year, with the share of regasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG) plants growing , according to official data.
The share of hydropower decreased to 29.8 percent from 31.2 percent. The share of coal-fired electricity remained stable at 21.5%. The share of gas-fired power generation fell to 11.3 percent from 12.6 percent. The share of nuclear power fell to 8 percent from 8.1 percent. The share of heating oil in the energy mix fell from 3.3% to 4.4%.
Of the total production, electricity production from RLNG-based power plants increased by 15.4% to 24,235 GWh during the period July-May. The share of imported fuel in electricity production fell from 19.3% to 20.9%.
However, hydropower still contributed the largest share of 34,581 GWh in total electricity production, up 2.1%.
Coal-fired power generation amounted to 24,958 GWh during the period under review, or around seven percent.
Electricity generation from gas fell 4.3% to 13,036 GWh. Nuclear power increased by around 5% to reach 9,253 GWh. Furnace oil-based electricity production jumped 44.3% to 5,097 GWh during the period.
After many years of power outages, the country recorded an installed power generation capacity that was more than sufficient to meet the country’s total demand in the last fiscal year 2019/20. A total power generation capacity of 13,298 MW was added to the system between 2016 and June 2020.
Surplus electricity production is the root cause of a circular debt problem, government officials say.
The government has to pay billions of rupees in capacity payments to power generation companies and this is also one of the main reasons for the circular accumulation of debt.
Electricity sector circular debt is expected to reach 5.2% of GDP or 2.1 trillion rupees by end of June due to capacity payments on excessive power plant construction, said Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin .
Circular debt has grown in size over the years, from 1.6% of GDP (161 billion rupees) in 2008.
In 2018, the volume of capacity payments to power generators was Rs 450 billion / year, which could reach Rs 1.5 trillion by 2023.
The inefficiencies of DISCOs have been a major drag on the financial health of the sector, as there are losses and low recoveries.
“The high cost of electricity, inefficient distribution services and the load-shedding policy on high-loss feeders keep consumers away from DISCOs.
Distributed generation through solar power solutions has made a significant entry into the national consumer base of DISCOs who are losing consumers with high consumption and payment capacity, ”said the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority in a latest annual report.
“Likewise, commercial, educational and industrial structures also tend to move away from DISCOs and opt for self-production using solar energy.