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LAHORE: Many residential areas in the city faced “forced outages” for five hours in addition to the scheduled loadshedding on Tuesday after the National Transmission and Dispatch Company’s 220kV Bund Road grid station developed fault, compelling the Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) to temporarily shut its 17 distribution grids of 132kV.

The NTDC’s Bund Road grid continues to be in trouble for many days due to technical issues such as overloading and faults in equipment. The grid had developed a major fault (breakdown of jumper) a few days ago, leaving almost half of Lahore and its adjoining rural areas without electricity for eight to 16 hours. The engineers claimed that they had replaced the equipment but the grid continues to be in the grip of technical issues.

Lesco’s distribution grids that remained shut included 132kV Saeedpur, Sabzazar, Allama Iqbal Town, Model Town, Riwaz Garden, Township, Qartaba, Shadman, Cantonment, Gulshan-i-Ravi, Bund Road, Saggian, Narang, Kala Shah Kaku, Muridkey, Shahdara Scarp and Shamkay.

220kV Bund Road grid is said to be cause of trouble

“We were forced to observe load management for five hours on Tuesday due to a technical fault in the NTDC Bund Road grid,” said a spokesman for Lesco. “The officials hide behind technicalities making people suffer loadshedding, tripping and fluctuation. It seems the interim government is incapable of handling the situation,” Ikram, a resident of Gulshan-i-Ravi, said.

A source in the power division told this reporter that there was no issue of the generation and it’s sufficient to meet the total demand of the country including Lesco. “On Tuesday (8:30am), the total generation recorded was 22,000MW, whereas the demand was 21,040MW. It means the national grid had 960MW surplus power,” he claimed.

He said the actual issue was the transmission and dispatch system that doesn’t have the adequate capacity to carry and transmit such huge load to the system of distribution companies (Discos). Similarly, the distribution system needed upgrade, he added.

He said besides 220kV Bund Road grid, 500kV Rawat (Islamabad) and Gatti (Faisalabad) continued to be overloaded as the NTDC couldn’t add new mega transformers there. He said the Company had started work on upgrading Rawat grid for the addition of 750MVA transformer and Gatti’s upgrade would also be done with an addition of a 600MVA transformer.

An official said the fault in the Bund Road grid was rectified enabling Lesco to restore operation of its 17 grid stations.

Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2018