LAHORE: The summer season this year is going to be more comfortable for power consumers since most constraints in the electricity transmission system have been removed while the remaining issues would be resolved by May this year, an official of the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) said on Tuesday.
Talking to Dawn, the official said that last year the situation was so serious – particularly in the service areas of Faisalabad and Islamabad electric supply companies – which officials had to shut down scores of 11kV power distribution feeders in peak hours to avoid further overloading the NTDC system.
“Similarly various service areas falling under the Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) faced problems due to some system constraints at the 500kV Sheikhupura grid station that feeds Lahore, Sheikhupura and other areas,” the official explained.
The 500kV Gatti grid in Faisalabad – considered to be the main station and heart of the country’s transmission system – continues to be overloaded due to non-upgradation work. The said grid requires additional transformers and replacement of existing worn out equipment. Since various other NTDC 220kV lines originate from Gatti and connect 132kV distribution grids in Faisalabad region, it became imperative for Fesco to observe forced load shedding by shutting around 200 of the its total 1,000 feeders (both domestic and industrial) in summer in a bid to save its own distribution system (132kV) from the adverse impact of the transmission system (500kV and 220kV), the official added.
Similarly, Iesco was in great trouble due to 500kV Rawat grid station. With 500kV Rawat, various 220kV lines are connected, supplying power to the 132kV distribution grids and lines of the power company.
“Upgradation of the 500kV Rawat grid has almost been completed with the addition of a huge 750MVA transformer. The transformer is currently in testing phase which should be completed by the end of this month,” the official said.
“With the addition of a new transformer, Islamabad would no longer face complaints related to system overloading and forced shutdowns in peak hours this summer,” he claimed.
The NTDC official said work to add a 600MVA transformer at 500kV Gatti grid was also underway.
“Hopefully, the transformer will be installed by end of this month and will be ready to use by end of March after passing of the testing phase,” he added.
Meanwhile, up-gradation on the 500kV Sheikhupura grid was already carried out last year but problems existed there due to operation of some small power plants. “Whenever any of these plants stops operating, Sheikhupura grid becomes overloaded. It is an issue related to design of the plants and the grid. However, now such problems have been minimised after the newly built 500kV New Lahore (Bhai Pheru) grid became operation and started sharing the load of Sheikhupura grid,” he explained.
The official said that up-gradation work (addition of 250MVA transformers) at 220kV Toba Tek Singh, Ludewala and Samundari grids has also been completed, relieving a number of urban and rural areas of Fesco and Mepco from brownouts.
Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2019