Electricity shortage remains at 4,494 megawatts

Despite having an installed capacity of over 45,000 MW and transmission and distribution capability of 26,000 MW, the national electricity supply in Pakistan has fallen short at 15,944 MW, according to data from the National Power Control Center (NPCC).

Against a demand of 20,438 MW, there is a persistent shortfall in supply of 4,494 MW. This power deficit of around 5,000 MW has been a recurring issue for the past decade and a half, starting around 2010.

Initially, the power deficit was mainly due to a lack of generation capacity. However, in recent years, the shortage has been attributed to financial and system constraints that severely limit power generation, despite major capacity additions during the previous government’s tenure.

The impact of these shortages is felt most acutely in smaller provinces, where power outages can reach up to 86% of the demand, compared to single-digit deficits in Punjab province.

For example, the Tribal Electric Supply Company (TESCO) is supplied only 59 MW out of a demand of 437 MW, leading to a massive gap of 378 MW or 86%. Similarly, Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO) is receiving 1,377 MW against a demand of 2,814 MW, resulting in a shortfall of 1,437 MW or 51%.

The situation is similar in other areas as well. The Quetta Electric Supply Company (QESCO) is facing a shortage of 1,121 MW, with a demand of 1,766 MW and supply of only 645 MW. The Sukkur Electric Power Company (SEPCO) is experiencing a deficit of 584 MW, with a demand of 1,211 MW and supply of 627 MW.

The failure to curb power theft is a major factor contributing to these shortages. Both the federal and provincial governments are blamed for the rampant power theft, which is seen as a deliberate strategy to penalize consumers. However, this approach has not been effective in reducing power theft.

Overall, the failure to address power theft and improve the efficiency of the national grid has had a significant economic impact and has hindered national integration efforts.

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