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ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank and the Government of Pakistan on Tuesday signed a $260 million loan agreement to improve the power transmission network in Sindh and Balochistan.

The agreement is part of the second power transmission enhancement investment programme aimed to improve coverage, reliability, transparency, and quality of the power transmission service in Pakistan by expanding the 220-kilovolt transmission network in Sindh and Balochistan and upgrading the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and revenue metering systems (RMS) in the country.

ADB hopes the new line with increased capacity will also improve system reliability and voltage profile in the two provinces and reduce transmission losses.

The agreement was signed by ADB Country Director for Pakistan, Xiaohong Yang Secretary Economic Affairs Division, Syed Ghazanfar Abbas Jilani in Islamabad. ADB Director-General for Central and West Asia, Werner Liepach also witnessed the ceremony.

The enhanced capacity line will facilitate the full utilisation of the Uch power plants under all conditions, including single-circuit outages of the alternative lines to Sibi. Ensuring full despatch from the Uch power plants is important as they operate on natural gas from the Uch gas fields, and therefore are one of the cheapest power plants in Pakistan.

The project is necessitated by the poor condition of the existing Guddu-Shikarpur-Uch-Sibi PC pole line which is in a dilapidated condition and beyond economic repair. The line was constructed in 1997 for 132kV, later upgraded to 220kV with replaced cross arms, and has now served its economic lifetime.

The work to be carried out by National Transmission and Despatch Company in this subproject consists of construction of a new 220 kV Guddu-Uch-Sibi single circuit steel tower transmission line on twin bundle rail conductors with the provision of interconnection of Guddu-Sibi section with existing 220 kV double circuit transmission line for In/Out of 220 kV Shikarpur grid station.

Upgrading the SCADA and RMS across the national grid will enable real-time monitoring and control of the grid, preventing losses, reducing power outages, and increasing the grid stability and capacity.

It will also feed computerised metering data complying with the grid code into the system for settlement of the market operator, the Central Power Purchasing Agency (Guarantee) Ltd to streamline revenue collection, billing and payment processes, as well as create the foundation for an energy-trading platform.

The power transmission network upgradation will also help off-take power from new and renewable power plants to the national grid and on the load centres enhancing Pakistan’s energy security.

Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2018