CHITRAL: The generating machinery of the first unit of Golen Gol hydropower station commissioned to work recently is prone to damage due to unwarranted loadshedding by Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) leading to fall of load on it below the bare minimum possible required limit.

A technical source in the project told this correspondent that for each running generator of a hydropower station there was a fixed minimum power load which must be maintained on it in order to keep it safe from heating besides abnormal increase in its amplitude of vibration causing structural damage.

He said that in case of Golen Gol powerhouse whose first unit of 36MW capacity had been inaugurated in February last, the minimum load limit was 2MW which approached to zero when Pesco made loadshedding, pushing the machinery to hyper risk.

Chitral DC terms outages by Pesco unwarranted

He said that as the transmission line was yet to be completed to connect it to the national grid at Chakdara, the consumption of the electricity generated by the power station was confined to Chitral only which is about 5MW and keeping it in view the maximum generation capacity had been lowered to 7MW.

He said that in the prevailing situation the shutdown of the powerhouse was the only solution to save it from loss.

The project manager, Engineer Javed Afridi, confirmed the risk and said that they had pointed out the impending disaster to the Pesco high-ups advising it to give up the loadshedding process.

He said that till completion of the transmission line and evacuation of the entire product to the national grid the risk of heating of the machinery would persist if the power load decreased to zero on it.

Chitral deputy commissioner Irshad Sodhar said that electricity loadshedding by Pesco was unwarranted, as five to seven hours of outage on daily basis was affecting 40,000 consumers across the district.

He rejected as misleading the Pesco stand that loadshedding in Chitral was aimed at recovery of the outstanding amount of electricity bills.

He said that the practice of loadshedding could create law and order situation in district as protests against it had become the order of the day.

When contacted, Pesco line superintendent Junaid Khan said that they were carrying out the outages by the orders of the high-ups.

Meanwhile, the local lawyers filed an application with police station, Chitral, for registration of FIR against the chief executive officer and other officers of Pesco for unwarranted power outages in Chitral.

Published in Dawn, June 4th, 2018