EghtesadOnline: Iran's electricity consumption, which had leaped during the summer heat wave in the past few weeks, has fallen by some 15%, giving the government great relief.
According to the Iran Grid Management Company’s data, power load has averaged at 49,500 megawatts in the past few days, while demand peaked at an all-time high of 58,000 MW two weeks ago, ILNA reported.
The situation resulted in hours-long power outages in many cities, including the capital city of Tehran, affecting many businesses and citizens.
According to Deputy Minister of Energy Homayoun Haeri, a series of measures, including changing working hours and halting electricity exports, along with the change of climate, have helped alleviate the problem, Financial Tribune reported.
The official said "the change in working hours has led to the reduction of 2,000 MW in power consumption".
In a bid to save electricity in early July, the administration issued a decree to change the working hours of state bodies and non-governmental public institutes in the capital city of Tehran and 10 other provinces. The new rule will be in force till mid August.
Accordingly, working hours of all government agencies and offices, banks, municipalities and other public non-governmental organizations currently start at 6:00 local time and end at 14:00.
Some provinces have announced a schedule for electricity outages in various districts for two hours daily.
The government has also stopped supplying electricity to Iraq and Pakistan to bridge the gap between the supply of electricity and consumption.
Iran stopped sending electricity to Iraq in mid-July. Iraq has been one of the major buyers of Iran's electricity since 2003.
The country has stopped 80-megawatts in power supply to Pakistan last week. Pakistan has a long-term 100-MW contract with Iran to meet electricity demand in the coastal region that has no access to the national grid because of long distances and commercial viability challenges.
Iran has been the largest exporter and importer of electricity in the Middle East for years. The country's installed capacity is currently around 80,000 MW. However, the unprecedented heat waves and low precipitation have put the state in electricity crisis.
Regarding the systemic decline in precipitation across the country, Haeri said the phenomenon has made a bad situation worse, which demands a more prudent approach for the future.
According to the official, hydropower plants’ electricity output has barely reached 5,000 MW this summer while the figure was 12,000 MW last summer.
Hence, he said, the government is considering the development of thermal power plants to overcome such challenges in the coming years.
Iran has been gripped with drought for over a decade and the country’s precipitation has dropped to its lowest level in the past half-century.
Data from Iran Water Resources Management Company, a subsidiary of Energy Ministry, shows that since the beginning of the current water year (Sept. 2017), the country hardly received 167 millimeters of rain—a drastic fall of 30.9% compared to last year.