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LAHORE: The operation of three gas-fired power projects in Punjab -- Bhikki, Baloki and Havaili Bahadur Shah -- may be delayed further due to various reasons.

“These plants have been lying idle for the last many weeks since they are passing through various tests required under the combined cycle procedure. They are not adding even a single megawatt to the national grid right now,” says Federal Secretary (Power Division) Mr Yousuf Nasim Khokhar.

Combined generation capacity of these plants is 3600mw.

“Hopefully, they will start their commercial operation in the combined cycle mode (gas+steam turbines run) before the peak summer,” he hoped while talking to Dawn.

According to an official of the Quaid-e-Azam Thermal Power Company who did not want to be identified, the Bhikki plant’s combined cycle is likely to be completed by end of next month.

“It is facing the issue of vibration in the generator of gas turbine (I). The engineers are trying hard to resolve it. Due to this issue, engineers are unable to conduct around seven tests of the steam turbine that are must for the completion of combined cycle,” the official told this paper.

According to him, once the issue is resolved, 28 days are required to carry out tests of the steam turbine. “Suppose, if the issue is resolved by the end of this month, another 28 days are required for steam turbine tests. So the Bhikki’s commercial operation is expected to start by end of next month,” he added. The commercial operation of this plant was due of Dec 15 last or so, he said.

While commenting over the delays in COD of two other plants—Balloki and Havaili Bahadur Shah (HBS) — a senior official of the National Power Parks Management Company admitted that both projects had missed their COD due to various reasons. “As per contract, the COD for Balloki and HBS was January 29 and 9, respectively, that means they should have been completed within a period of 27 months although such plants require 40 months to start the commercial operation internationally due to multiple trial runs,” he explained.

The official, who requested anonymity, hoped that the combined cycle of Balloki was expected to be completed by end of next month and it would start commercial operation during first week of May.

About HBS, he said the reliability run test (RRT) was underway for this plant. For the last four days, the RRT of this plant is going on due to which it is contributing 1,200MW to the national grid. If this test completes successfully, it requires another test called performance test. “And if it completes too successfully, this plant’s commercial operation may start by end of April,” the official said.

Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2018