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LAHORE: The country’s power evacuation, transmission and despatch system (220kV & 500kV lines and grid stations) may not be able to sustain the peak summer generation and demand of 24,000MW or so this year despite accomplishment of several tasks related to up-gradation or augmentation.

Experts say the system transmitted load of 19,200MW in last summer. And this year, it successfully transported the maximum load of 19,798MW on Wednesday.

“Though the system sustained maximum load of 19,798MW on Wednesday, our technical experts are of the view that it can bear and transmit about 22,000MW or so this summer,” a senior official of power division told Dawn.

Following the findings of the technical experts, the government expects that total peak summer generation, including hydel (subject to availability of water) may cross 24,000MW. Similarly the peak demand may also be equal or bit higher to 24,000MW. Therefore, the NTDC system is likely to pass through a tough test of transmitting peak summer demand/generation of 24,000MW or so.

NTDC claims otherwise; experts say 22,000MW can be transmitted

“The NTDC’s system is very old. And some years ago it had the capacity to bear load of about 1,4000MW. And if the 10,000MW are completely added to the national grid, the generation would reach to 24,000MW. So it may not be able to bear such a huge load since it, according to experts, may transmit about 22,000MW. Resultantly, the transmission system may face overloading leading to tripping and feeding power to the distribution system,” the official said preferring anonymity.

He said over a year ago, the power division came to know that the transmission system might fall in ‘capacity trap’ despite the surplus generation predicted for future. Therefore, the experts associated with the transmission and distribution system launched a plan to upgrade the 500kV, 220kV and 132kV lines and grid stations by adding new equipment.

Still the system, according to the official, needs upgradation, as 500 Rawat (Islamabad) grid station is one of the examples where the NTDC failed to add one 750MVA transformer owing to various issues. “In case our peak generation and demand touches a figure of 2,4000MW this summer, it will be a huge strain on the system. Let’s wait and see whether the system bears this load or not,” the official said while talking in context with the three power breakdowns during the ongoing month so far.

On the other hand, the NTDC claims to have strengthened the system that can bear 24,000MW load easily.

“Actually there are three layers -132kV (distribution system) and 220kV & 500kV transmission system. The transmission and distribution system separately cater 70 per cent and 30pc electricity load respectively. So I think there will be no problem if peak demand and generation gets 2,4000MW,” a senior NTDC official said.

He said the NTDC and distribution companies (Discos) continued to augment their system keeping in view the load.

Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2018