Iran Plans to Cut Power Exports to Meet Domestic Demand
EghtesadOnline: In line with a plan to meet Iran's electricity demand in summer, which has soared to record-high levels in recent days, the country's power exports to neighboring states declined by 400 megawatts, a deputy energy minister said.
"Electricity exports have decreased from 1,300 MW to 900 MW during peak hours to cope with growing domestic demand in the scorching days of summer," Houshang Falahatian was also quoted as saying by IRNA on Thursday.
"If necessary, we will halt supplies to Turkey, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan," Falahatian said, adding that meeting domestic requirements is a priority. Iran's installed electricity capacity is currently around 76,000 MW.
According to the official, although the country's installed capacity has increased in proportion to the annual economic growth, it is still not enough to meet the heavy demand, Financial Tribune reported.
"Consumption was expected to rise by 3% from last year, yet it has soared by 10.5% so far in the current fiscal year [started March 21]," he said, adding that encouraging the public to consume prudently is the only solution to tackle the issue.
Asked about constructing new power plants to satisfy the need, he said peak hours normally account for 200 hours per annum and expending millions of dollars on new power stations is not economically viable as the extra generated power cannot be stored.
Experts, including Ali Shams Ardekani, a veteran economist, opine that the only solution to impel subscribers to use power judiciously is by revising prices and imposing a surcharge on heavy consumers, which would cover real prices that include the costs of generation, dispatch and transmission.
Pointing to an all-time peak power demand of 55,400 MW registered this month, up from about 53,000 MW in the fiscal 2016-17, Falahatian said, "Not only have we been able to handle the peak hours so far, but electricity exchange with neighboring countries has also not stopped."
No Major Outages
On the ministry's plan to impose phased blackouts in parts of the country to compel subscribers to reduce consumption, the official said, "That's currently not an option and there is no plan to introduce such a scheme.
"Despite the unexpected rise in consumption, the much-needed electricity has been provided for users and sporadic power cuts have been due to temporary technical problems," he added, noting that short-term outages are sometimes unavoidable as they help prevent damage to the national grid.
According to the official, an increase in temperature by one degree Celsius raises electricity demand by 500-700 megawatts.
Electricity demand is forecast to hit 56,000 MW in August, according to a report by the Energy Ministry that says it is ready to withstand a higher electricity load and avoid outages via reconditioning substations and offering incentives to industrial units that cut power consumption during peak hours.