LAHORE: The much-delayed 108MW Golen Gol Hydropower Project started power generation on Wednesday, enabling Chitral to receive electricity on a trial basis.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will formally inaugurate the project in the first week of next month.

According to Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda), the project worth over Rs29 billion has started generation with first unit of 36MW that will provide electricity three times more than the need of Chitral city.

Surplus energy will be added to the national grid after being evacuated by the distribution, transmission and dispatch system developed exclusively by Wapda under its own financial arrangement for the first time.

“It is a matter of pride for the locals in particular and the nation in general that the whole Chitral will have almost double of its total electricity requirement that is about 20MW. The residents of Chitral, Upper Chitral and Drosh, have celebrated the event since they spent the first day without loadshedding,” Wapda Chairman retired Lt Gen Muzammil Hussain told Dawn.

“Need of Chitral, Drosh and Upper Chitral is 7MW to 8MW, 8MW and 4MW, respectively, while they now have around 36MW,” he added.

Wapda terms the power generation from the project a historic development, which is a significant step towards stable supply of electricity to Chitral and the adjacent areas.

The Wapda chairman said the second unit of 36MW would start generation in March followed by the third and last having the similar installed capacity of 36MW in May.

He criticised the role of the Peshawar Elec­tricity Supply Company and Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Board for not doing anything to upgrade the power distribution sys­tem for the evacuation of power from the project.

Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2018