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LAHORE: Most parts of Lahore and its adjoining districts are not only facing loadshedding, either forced or scheduled, but also sudden shutdowns in peak hours on a daily basis due to tripping of the overloaded power distribution system.

Lahore is among the country’s major power consuming cities having a peak demand of more than 3,500MW in summer. Last year, the Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) load crossed 4,700MW that included around 3,300MW of Lahore alone. And this year, it almost reached 5,000MW including more than 3,500MW in the provincial metropolis.

“Besides loadshedding, tripping has also become a headache for us as it not only affects our routine activities but also damages home appliances. We are not familiar with technical problems and consider it part of loadshedding,” says a consumer in Gulberg.

Consumers say outgoing govt should have made timely arrangements

“The outgoing PML-N government had time and again claimed to have ended loadshedding but all its claims have proved wrong,” he deplored while demanding that the caretaker government look into this major issue on a priority.

According to an energy expert, severe constraints in the National Transmission & Dispatch Company’s system (500 and 220kV grid stations and transmission lines) have led to the disturbance of the 132kV system being operated by the distribution companies (Discos). Lesco is among these companies facing issues due to constraints in the NTDC system.

“500kV Gatti (Faisalabad), Sheikhupura (Lahore) and Rawat (Islamabad) grids couldn’t be upgraded through replacement of old transformers with new ones and there is no addition of transformers.

Since these grids and lines, especially Gatti, are vital, they become overloaded in peak hours, forcing the Discos to observe forced shutdowns to reduce burden on the 500 & 220kV transmission system,” he says.

He says at present, the Discos are observing loadshedding for two to six hours in urban and rural areas in addition to the forced outages in case of system’s overloading. “The situation is exactly as it was in the previous summer. Last year too, the electricity supply to the industry was curtailed across Punjab from 6pm to 4am in Ramazan. The tripping also is due to the overloading of the system,” he adds.

The official claims that since the authorities were well aware of the massive increase in power demand in 2018 summary, they should have upgraded the system by removing constraints before the onset of summer.

The NTDC had already admitted its failure in timely adding a 750MVA transformer to the Rawat grid. Similarly, the company also admitted the fact of not replacing Gatti’s old transformers with new ones. However, it claimed to have upgraded Sheikhupura grid.

The company, following three power breakdowns in May, this year had also decided to carry out a highly technical study to propose further ‘islanding’ options both in the Northern and Southern transmission systems.

Published in Dawn, June 13th, 2018