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LAHORE: The National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) has finally started to upgrade 500kV Rawat (Islamabad) and 500kV Gatti (Faisalabad) grid stations in a bid to provide relief to service areas of three major power distribution companies in Punjab.

The Rawat and Gatti grid stations continue to be overloaded, forcing Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco), Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (Fesco) and Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) to observe forced loadshedding in many areas to reduce burden on the NTDC’s 500kV and 220kV grid and transmission system.

Officials say that though the company had planned to upgrade the 500kV grids before the summer, it couldn’t accomplish the task due to various technical and administrative reasons that left the companies with no option but to observe forced outages.

“Three transformers -- each with a capacity of 450MVA -- are installed at Rawat. Since this grid was facing overloading, we planned to add a 750MVA transformer before the start of summer. But, a foreign company delayed manufacturing of the transformer,” an official source in the NTDC told Dawn on Wednesday.

The NTDC received the transformer last month from the manufacturer and started civil work, which is under way and is likely to be completed along with its installation maximum by November.

“As the new transformer will share the load of the grid with the three installed already, the overloading issue will end, providing relief to consumers in all service areas of Iesco,” the official claimed.

Talking about Gatti, he said it was also disturbed due to overloading, creating problems for Fesco directly and Lesco indirectly. At present, Gatti has three 450MVA transformers that are insufficient to absorb the current load. “Here we are going to add a 600MVA transformer for which we will open bids in 15 days. Another 20 days will be required for evaluation, short-listing of bidders and award of the project. Hopefully, we will be able to start the civil work by end of August and complete the jobs by December,” the official explained.

He said since Gatti station’s overloading also affected Sheikhupura’s 500kV grid, which fed Lahore from the north, it leads to disturbance on Lesco’s power distribution system.

“Therefore, after getting another transformer, Gatti will also provide relief to various service areas of Lesco,” the official explained.

Published in Dawn, July 19th, 2018