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LAHORE: The capacity of power transmission and distribution system has been enhanced to around 22,500 megawatts, enabling the government to ensure smooth power supply to consumers during peak summer this year.

The government also expects total generation to cross 23,000MW if three gas-fired power plants (3,600MW) and Neelum Jhelum and Tarbela 4th Extension projects (2,400MW) started operations on time.

“Last year, the capacity of National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) and power distribution companies (Discos) system was 19,200MW in peak summer. But, according to sector experts, the system’s capacity is expected to bear the load of 22,500MW in peak summer due to completion of various jobs such as upgrading, removal of constraints etc,” a senior official of the Power Division told Dawn on Monday.

Last year, the NTDC’s 500kV and 220kV transmission system and Discos’ 132kV system had witnessed several constraints – tripping, fluctuation, overloading to name a few – causing inconvenience to consumers.

The official said in 2013, total power generation (hydel, thermal etc) remained at 13,500MW that gradually increased. And if the Neelum Jhelum and Tarbela 4th Extension projects and three Punjab-based re-gasified liquefied natural gas power plants at Bhikki, Haveli Bahadur Shah and Balloki started commercial operations, total power generation may reach 23,000MW. “We are expecting commercial operation date of two of the three plants -- Bhikki and Haveli -- this month. Similarly, Neelum Jhelum and Tarbela, too, may start operations soon,” he added.

The official further said that governing Discos, revival of Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco), system upgrade etc would be major challenges for the new government.

“There are many issues. How to govern Discos – whether through empowering their heads and boards of directors, monitoring by Pepco (ministry), induction of professionals etc or bringing some other type of models. These days the ministry is governing Discos so as to see whether Pepco, which is almost a dead organisation, can deliver or not,” he explained.

He said the aged power plants owned by state-run generation companies would be another major challenge. “Since these plants need various repairs frequently, we cannot trust or claim how much they would be able to contribute in peak summer. So there is a dire need for devising a viable plan to maintain them,” he suggested.

LESCO: The Lahore Electric Supply Company on Monday claimed to have lodged cases against over 350 people for stealing electricity. “During April, the company lodged FIRs against 351 power thieves and charged them for over 1.8 million units,” a spokesperson for the company said in a press release.

Published in Dawn, May 8th, 2018