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LAHORE: The commercial operation of over 1,200MW Bhikki and Havaili Bahadur Shah (HBS) combined cycle power plants is likely to begin by May 10, as both projects are passing through last couple of tests these days.

However, the commercial operation date (COD) of the Balloki plant may be delayed further till May 25 since it has to pass through more tests than Bhikki and HBS. The three gas-fired power plants in Punjab are already facing production delays of four months or so due to various technical issues, including a major problem of vibration occurred with one of them.

“At present, our plant (Bhikki) is passing through a seven-day Reliability Run Test (RRT) that will complete on Friday (tomorrow). After this, the last test called performance test will be carried out for another seven days. Therefore, we expect that the Bhikki’s COD will begin from May 10 or 11,” a senior official of the Quaid-i-Azam Thermal Power Company — a subsidiary of the Punjab government said while talking to Dawn on Wednesday.

The COD of the Bhikki plant was earlier expected in March this year. But the vibration in a gas turbine generator took a number of days to resolve the issue. For many days the plant continued generation of around 1,000MW under combined cycle mode.

“For the last 20 days, the plant didn’t stop operation even for a single day, as it continues to add around 1,000MW daily to the national grid,” the official claimed.

Similarly, the HBS plant’s COD is likely to begin on May 7 or 8, as the project is passing through the last couple of tests.

“The DLN tuning (Dry Knows Test) of the HBS plant is under way these days that will be completed today (Thursday). After this, we will shutdown the plant for one day for washing. And finally we are expecting to start performance test by Saturday or Sunday that will take three to four days,” commented Rashid Mahmood, chief executive officer (CEO) of the National Power Parks Management Company — a subsidiary of the Ministry of Energy (Power Division).

He said since the RRT of the HBS plant was already done last month, the performance test would take three to four days. He said since the O&M contractor was already on site, the company would formally hand over the plant to it till May 6. On April 23, the CEO claimed that the plant made a power generation of 1,234MW on 27 degree temperature.

About Balloki, Mr Mehmood said there was a plan to start RRT of the plant from May 10 that would end on May 17 or so.

“Hopefully, the Balloki’s COD will begin from May 25 or so. But despite all this both the plants would be adding around 2,000MW before or soon after the commencement of Ramazan,” he maintained.

Published in Dawn, April 26th, 2018