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LAHORE: Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) has asked the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority to accept its review petition and withdraw Rs4 million fine in the light of the steps being undertaken for some time.

In July, this year, Nepra had imposed penalty on two power distribution companies (Discos) - Rs4m on Lesco for poor service to consumers, loadshedding and generating misleading information and Rs5m on Hesco.

The regulator imposed the fine after it sent a fact-finding team to various Lesco service areas in July and August, last year, and found various issues. During a couple of hearings, according to official sources, Nepra sought written explanation/replies in response to the review petition submitted by Lesco.

While defending its services in the review petition, Lesco claims to have done a lot in the area of grid station development [worth Rs5.60 billion] in a bid to end system constraints. Eleven new grid stations were added to the system during fiscal 2016-17 and the ongoing 2017-18 (till September). Thirteen of 26MVA and 34 of 40MVA capacity transformers were also added to the system besides laying about 157km long 132kV transmission lines.

Firm enumerates steps for efficient service delivery

“As a result of completion of the above works, 14 of the total 17 critical system constraints, which were observed through rehearsal during the last year’s summer, were redressed whereas the rest of constraints are expected to be met by the end of this year,” claims a letter Lesco wrote recently to its regulator.

It says during last and ongoing fiscal years, the company completed 5,478 of the total 5,777 works worth Rs3.08bn related to laying, replacement or rectification of high and low tension wires, removing 162 system constraints concerning the 11kV feeders and improving LT [low tension] network of about 5,000 points in the distribution network pointed out during last summer.

Discussing the issue of McLeod Road [division], the company mentions that the division was facing a critical issue with reference to single source of 132kV line feeding the existing McLeod Road grid station since long due to damaging of second source of old underground 132kV line. To resolve the issue, Rs1bn worth of 132kV underground transmission line [project] with double circuit arrangement is being executed from 132kV Sunny View [grid] to McLeod Road and then to Qartaba grid station to provide a balanced load sharing in the heart of Lahore city. Moreover, 185 of the total 192 cable works were completed at a cost of Rs30.66m.

On safety issues, the company states that during calendar year 2016, a lot of casualties to line staff were observed in the form of 22 deaths and a number of disabilities.

“Keeping in view the deep-rooted attitude problem while adopting safety measures, training has been arranged for more than 1,000 linemen by engaging foreign qualified experts,” the letter reads.

As a result of a survey, it says, 4,000 [hazardous] critical points had been identified, out of which more than 1,000 were rectified. The remaining are to be targeted by the end of ongoing maintenance period. Twenty-five bucket-mounted cranes had also been ordered and 12 were received so far.

“In the light of Lesco presentations and discussion held during the hearing on Oct 26 and above submissions, the authority is requested to accept the review application and withdraw the penalty of Rs4m,” the letter says.

Published in Dawn, November 7th, 2017