by AHMAD AHMADANI
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has sought quick response from the ministry of water and power over reported delay in the completion of transmission line and grid system improvement projects in power sector, Pakistan Today has learnt on Saturday.
Informed sources told this scribe that premier has taken serious notice of National Electric Power Regulatory Authority’s (NEPRA) on site examination report about the National Transmission and Despatch Company’s (NTDC) power projects and instructed the water and power ministry to present detailed report about the ongoing and future power projects of the NTDC.
“Besides seeking response from power ministry over undue delay in NTDC’s power projects, the premier has warned of stern action against the responsible and instructed to present a plan that mentions deadline of the transmission line and grid system improvement projects,” sources said.
The sources said that water and power ministry has also asked NTDC to submit the plan and confirm completion dates of the power projects as soon as possible.
The NTDC would soon submit a plan, specifying time frame for the completion of power projects, they added.
The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) in a report disclosed that power cuts were unlikely to be witnessed and would end by 2018.
According to the NEPRA’s report, nine major transmission line and grid station projects of 220KV and 500KV [for Chishtian, Vehari, Gujrat, Lahore, Rahimyar Khan, Shikarpur, Dera Murad Jamali and Kot Lakhpat] should have been completed between 2012 and June 2015 under the contract, but they were still far behind from completion.
Similarly, major generation projects like the 1,320MW coal project at Port Qasim, 1,320MW Sino-Sindh Resources, 660MW Engro Thar Coal and 1,320MW Jamshoro Coal were scheduled to reach the production stage before June 2017, but enabling conversion, switching and transmission systems unlikely to be completed before June 2018.
Surprisingly, 4,500MW of additional power generation capacity would be available in 2017-18, but sufficient transmission facilities would not be there to effectively absorb it, resulting in its dispersal on unreliable alternate lines. The shortfall would, therefore, come under control in major load centres of Punjab but load-shedding would not completely end in the whole of Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan.
Pointing out significant delay in transmission lines and grid system improvement projects of NTDC, country’s power sector regulatory authority (NEPRA) has also disclosed drain of public exchequer due to delay in execution of projects. “Total of 3.385 Million US dollars had been paid by NTDC in respect of commitment charges. This is a drain of public exchequer,” the report said.
NEPRA’s report on the power projects of NTDC further made it public that National Power Control Center (NPCC) up-gradation project has been mishandled by the NTDC. The Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) project at the moment was short of Remote Terminal Units (RTUs).
SCADA system with existing number of RTUs was sufficient for real time monitoring of power system or proper load flow studies at NPCC. Also, the interconnection arrangements for Jhimpir & Gharo Wind Cluster, Neelum Jhelum Hydro Power Project, Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park (600MW), Thar Coal Power generation projects were behind schedule, which will cause power evacuation problems.
Five number of 220 KV transmission lines of NTDC were overloaded. Similarly, the metering system at Common Delivery Points (CDPs) was not considered ‘secure’, while fault recorders were out of order at almost all grid stations of NTDC, and NTDC has no specific plans for reduction of transmission losses.
It is worth mentioning here that NEPRA had solicited comments from NTDC regarding observation of NEPRA on issues highlighted in the report. NTDC submitted its response which revealed that completion dates of nine different development projects located in Sindh and Punjab of grid stations, switching station, substation, associated transmission line, installation of Static Var Compensators at 220 kV were extended by NTDC.
NTDC has not raised any objection/concerns on observations of NEPRA regarding issues highlighted in the report.