The Sheikh Muhammadi Grid Station has yet to be fully operational as only 50% of repair work has been completed since it was attacked by militants on April 2.
Despite the acknowledgement by Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) chief Brig. (ret) Tariq Sodazai that the grid station needs further repairs, the process remains painstakingly slow four months after the incident. Sadozai, in his meetings with authorities and press briefings, has repeatedly put the problems in power supply on the weak grid station.
Located in the suburbs of Peshawar, the 500kv power station was stormed by militants who attacked the building with rockets and explosive devices. While the grid station was seriously damaged, five Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) officials, an SDO and three community police officials were killed in the attack.
Most of Peshawar and more than half of the southern districts, including Kohat, the Frontier Regions and Karak, depend on the Sheikh Muhammad Grid Station for electricity.
Pesco spokesperson Shaukat Afzal confirmed only half the work has been completed. “Work has been expedited for early completion,” he asserted. “Power transformers, panels and the switch room were damaged, which means heavy repairs have to be made,” he said.
On a regular schedule it would have taken us three years to complete the reconstruction, but three work shifts have been initiated for repairing the grid station as early as possible, he claimed.
In the meantime we have resorted to alternatives, including supplying power to Peshawar from the Warsak dam and using the Daudkhel power supply line in Bannu to power the southern regions.
“Initially, when the grid station was completely out of order, we would chalk out a load-shedding plan daily to prevent long hours of power cuts,” said Shahjehan, a Pesco official.
A power transformer has also been installed at the grid station. “The transformers that had to replaced were imported through an international tender because they was not available in the country,” Afzal said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2013.
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