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Baluchistan electricity crisis deepens

Power supply to 21 districts hit

Gulf News

Karachi: An electricity crisis deepened on Sunday as power supply to 21 districts of Baluchistan province was disconnected and load shedding was intensified in almost all the stretches of the country after several key power generating units developed faults.

The power deficit on the weekly holiday when demand comes down considerably persisted at 5500 megawatt as Guddu Thermal Power Station, a major generating facility, tripped this morning. Uch power plant was already facing technical turbulence.

Guddu and Uch combined generate about 1600 megawatt electricity of the country which is more than 10 per cent of the current generating capacity of the country.

Along with the 21 districts of western Baluchistan province, a large part of Sindh and the Punjab provinces were also affected where the duration of load shedding reached 16 to 20 hours a day.

Karachi Electric Supply Company or KESC shut its generating capacity at Bin Qasim Power station, which has 560 megawatt capacity. Shutting down of generation was the result of low supply of gas to KESC, the management said. The spokesman of the company claimed that instead of 270 million cubic feet of gas quota to KESC, the Sui Southern Gas Company was providing mere 120 MMCFD gas.

On Sunday the temperature remained 33C in Karachi but 52 per cent atmospheric humidity worsened matters for residents.

The Senate Committee on Water and Power on Friday advised the government immediately stop the supply of 650 megawatts to KESC as the provinces of the Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhaw and Sindh, except Karachi, were enduring the worst load shedding.

An official of the water and power ministry told the committee that the power crisis might last until May Wednesday and the duration of the load shedding might range from 18 to 20 hours.

The ministry was also desperately looking for the release of Rs22 billion (Dh1.4 billion) by the government to immediately bail it out from current financial obligations and payments to the fuel supply could be made to run the power generating plants at the maximum capacity.