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LAHORE: As the city and adjoining districts are in grip of scheduled and unscheduled loadshedding, the Ministry of Water and Power says the system’s stability [in Lahore] is in trouble and the situation will take time to improve.

“Lahore continues to face loadshedding, brownouts and other issues. But it will take time to strengthen the system as the respective departments — the ministry, National Transmission and Despatch Company and Lesco are working in this regard,” Federal Secretary for Water and Power Yousaf Naseem Khokhar told Dawn on Saturday.

Besides loadshedding, low voltage, tripping and fluctuation are the problems that are damaging home appliances. After various surveys, the NTDC and distribution companies (Discos) identified various constraints affecting the power transmission, dispatch, supply and distribution system. The system constraints identified by the officials included replacement of low-capacity transformers with the high ones (Up to 250MVA) and other electrical equipment at 500kV, 220kV and 132kV grid stations, replacement of outdated 500kV, 220kV and 132kV transmission lines (wherever required).

Ministry, NTDC and Lesco working to remove constraints

However, the sources said some Discos removed most of the constraints on their 132kV, 66kV and 33kV secondary transmission grid and 11kV distribution system before start of the summer. But a majority of constraints, including replacement of transformers with the new ones having 250MVA capacity at 500kV Sheikhupura grid station on the part of NTDC couldn’t be removed due to various administrative and procurement issues.

“Whenever any of three power plants (Nishat, Hallmore or Saba) becomes inoperative due to maintenance or other technical reasons, the NTDC’s 500kV grid station appears to be overloaded. This leads to disturbing the connected 220kV and 132kV systems that further generate various problems--brownouts etc,” the secretary said.

Mr Khokhar said due to system constraints, which were required to be removed before the summer, the NTDC’s Board of Directors (BoD) removed its managing director from service last month.

He said if the officials concerned opted for shutdowns to remove constraints these days, it would be another trouble for the consumers.

He said generation on Saturday touched a figure of 19,500MW that included 6,600MW from hydel resources. The generation at Mangla also increased from 250 to over 800MW. Similarly, some power plants, including a unit of the Haveli Bahdur Shah RLNG-fired plant returned to the system after maintenance. Meanwhile, one of the two units/gas turbines of Bhikki power plant also started generation after completion of the scheduled conversion and testing works.

“We switched on one turbine on Saturday afternoon. And the second will start functioning tomorrow (Sunday),” Quaid-i-Azam Thermal Power (Private) Limited Chief Executive Officer Ahad Khan Cheema told this reporter.

Published in Dawn, August 20th, 2017