ISLAMABAD: The government has voiced hope that it will be able to increase electricity supply to consumers in the summer season this year as 90% of constraints on power transmission have been tackled following the removal of managing director of National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC).
Briefing a sub-committee of the Senate Standing Committee on Power, in a meeting chaired by Senator Agha Shahzaib Durrani on Wednesday, officials of the Power Division pointed out that the previous managing director of NTDC had failed to undertake measures to make proper planning for stability of the transmission system in order to avoid blackouts and execute transmission line projects according to the timelines.
They warned that delay in transmission line projects could lead to imposition of a penalty of millions of dollars on account of capacity payments to the power plants.
Former NTDC managing director Dr Fiaz Ahmad Chaudhry joined office on July 15, 2016 and the board of directors removed him on July 7, 2017. The committee was informed that the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) had issued a show cause notice during the tenure of previous NTDC managing director because of delay in 16 transmission line projects.
Officials pointed out that the government was facing a threat of $0.7 million in penalty per day following delay in laying a transmission line for connecting the 1,320-megawatt Port Qasim power plant to the national grid. They, however, said now 16 transmission line projects had been completed and the government was able to build the transmission line on time to connect the Port Qasim power plant.
Power Division Joint Secretary Zargham Khan said 10,700MW of electricity was added to the national grid from 2013 to 2018, but transmission lines were not laid for the supply of additional electricity.
He said 22,000MW of electricity was available but the transmission system was able to transmit only 19,800MW. He was of the view that parallel action was required to lay transmission lines, but no proper planning was done.
He emphasised that the Power Division was fully aware of delay in the transmission line projects and had communicated the then NTDC MD to complete the projects on time.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 28th, 2019.