South Asia

Published: Wednesday 15 April 2009

Going powerless: Bangladesh is facing an acute shortage of natural gas supply that has crippled its power sector. The Power Development Board currently faces a shortfall of 165 million cubic feet per day (mcfd). At present it requires 850 mcfd of gas to generate around 4,000 megawatt (MW) of electricity but receives only 685 mcfd. With the arrival of summer, the situation has deteriorated in urban areas, including the capital city, Dhaka. To meet the increasing power demand, the board has announced regular power cuts every alternate hour. On March 18, it suspend supply to a fertilizer plant in Chittagong.

Depleting water: Water levels in major reservoirs of Pakistan have declined sharply. This may affect hydropower generation. The water level in Tarbela dam, the country's biggest reservoir, remained at 417.58 metre on March 19, close to the dead level, or the minimum retention level. The water level in Mangla dam was recorded at 328.45 metres, only 11.46 metres higher than the dead level. At present, Pakistan's power demand is estimated at 4,200 MW against the existing generation of 3,000 MW. Official sources fear the power shortfall would reach 2,000 MW when the water levels reach dead level.

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