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LAHORE: The Ministry for Water and Power is working on a proposal to hand over 33kV, 66kV and 132kV grid systems to the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC), which power distribution companies (Discos) of the country are running.

At present, the NTDC - a subsidiary of the ministry - is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the 220kV and 500kV grid stations and transmission lines network, while Discos run the secondary transmission grids and distribution set ups (11kV, 33kV, 66kV and 132kV) across the country. Sources in Discos say that in case the ministry implements the plan, the situation may worsen since the NTDC, which has yet to remove various system constraints of its 220kV and 500kV system connected with various Discos, may not deal with the additional work.

There are 1,000 grid stations (33, 66 and 132kV capacity) being operated and maintained by 10 Discos. On the other hand, the NTDC is operating and maintaining 14 grid stations of 500kV and 38 of 220kV. These include nine in Islamabad, 19 in Lahore, nine in Multan and 13 in Hyderabad.He said the proposal floated by the NTDC was not viable as the NTDC, which never faced the public at large, would not be to work at the grass roots, where Discos face problems because of meager human and financial resources.

When asked about the reasons behind the plan, the official said: “Actually, the NTDC had made unnecessary expansion to its set up in the last couple of years. On various slots, officers are available but they are doing almost no work. That is why the NTDC desires to engage them in various jobs by generating work whether through getting the Discos’ system or any other way,” he explained.

The official said how the NTDC, which normally outsources several jobs at its own 550kV and 220kV systems, would be able to oversee a huge Discos’ network. A majority of jobs associated with the 33kV, 66kV and 132kV systems are being run directly by Discos’ own staff. And a meager number of jobs are sourced out to private firms.

“So, the government must drop this plan,” the official sought.

The Water and Power secretary and NTDC’s officiating managing director were not available were for comment.

Published in Dawn, July 23rd, 2017