LAHORE: The electricity shortfall soared to over 5,500MW on Monday, forcing the power distribution companies (Discos) to observe unscheduled shutdown to save the system in addition to routine loadshedding — up to eight hours in urban and over 12 hours in rural areas across the country.
The situation worsened in Lahore and its adjoining districts after the demand of country’s biggest Disco — Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) — touched a figure of 4,611MW (highest ever in June) at 3pm against 2,800MW (much less than the allocated quota) supplied to the company, leaving it with a major shortfall of over 2,000MW during peak hours.
Officials say the maximum generation/supply in peak hours stood at 18,200MW whereas the demand crossed 23,000MW throughout the country.
“Monday (June 5) was the toughest day of the summer so far for the Discos, as the shortfall ranged between 5,000 and 6,000MW,” says a senior official of the water and power ministry.
In various Discos, including Lesco, the officials would turn off various grid stations in a bid to avoid any damage to the system that was already overloaded. In various adjoining districts of Lahore, operation of some 132kV grid stations was shut, leading to forced shutdown in addition to routine loadshedding.
“People in several areas of Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) including Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Chakwal spent the entire Sunday night without electricity after two 500kV current transformers installed at Rewat grid station broke down due to heatwave, leaving the officials with no option but to stop about five other grid stations, including Bakra Mandi and Chakri Road, to protect the system (stations and 11kV feeders) from overloading. However, the officials of National Transmission and Dispatch Company reportedly replaced the transformers with new ones and restored supply by Monday afternoon,” the official said.
He said with a rise in mercury, a number of 11kV feeders in various Discos (except Iesco) continued to be overloaded, as they were absorbing the load of around 450 amperes that should actually be 250 amperes according to standard. As a result, tripping, low voltage and fluctuation had become a routine matter these days.
“The situation is problematic in Lahore where around 250 of the 950 city feeders are overloaded since no work was carried out in the past to upgrade their capacity,” he said.
An official said two 220kV grid stations of NTDC tripped at 9.45pm, leading to tripping of around 10 [Lesco] 132kV grid stations in Lahore. As a result, power supply to a number of areas was disrupted.
Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2017