Power Consumption at Record High

Power Consumption at Record HighPower Consumption at Record High

As the summer heat adds load pressure on the national power grid, for the first time in the current Iranian year (began March 21), electricity consumption crossed a record-high of 47,000 megawatts to reach 47,344 MW on June 20, Bargh News reported.

With temperatures closer to 40C in many parts of the country, consumption peaked at 46,556 MW on June 6, the report said, adding that so far the highest consumption recorded stands at 48,527 MW on July 26, 2014.

Deputy Energy Minister Houshang Falahatian had warned last week about a 4-5 degree increase in temperature, forecasting that it would rise to probably 50 and 41 degrees in the southern oil city of Ahvaz and Tehran respectively. On Sunday the mercury in Tehran climbed to 39 degrees Celsius (15:00 hours local time) while the weatherman in Ahwaz in Khuzestan Province, reported the sizzling heat at 47 degrees.

"According to projections, power consumption in the first week of Ramadan will increase during Suhoor (before dawn) and Iftar (at sunset)," Falahatian said. "Peak consumption is expected to reach last year levels," he said as the heat wave took its toll on dwindling water reserves in dams and overworked power plants struggling to meet the excessive demands of 80 million mostly imprudent people.

Households and businesses have been urged to cut consumption during the peak demand hours between 11-14 hours and 17-23 hours. Authorities in Tehran and most megacities have warned that if consumption is not curbed by at least 10 percent, they would be forced to go in for blackouts to help meet the seemingly unsustainable demand.

Despite being energy-rich, wastage and misuse of energy in Iran impose onerous costs on the national budget, not to mention the fact that the gap between water/electricity demand and supply continues to widen at a dangerous pace. The financial burden is said to be equal to the total development budget estimated to be in the region of $8 billion annually, according to a report by Iran's Energy Efficiency Organization.

Iran’s installed power capacity is close to 73,000 MW. The country ranks 14th in the world and first in the Middle East in terms of power generation. It is the largest exporter and importer of electricity in the Middle East and exports electric power to Armenia, Pakistan, Turkey, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Azerbaijan and Armenia supply electricity to Iran under a swap agreement.