Nepra takes notice of increase in loadshedding


ISLAMABAD: The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) has taken notice of the recent increase in loadshedding throughout the country, mainly due to system constraints despite the PML-N government’s commitments that there would be no loadshedding at the time of Sehri, Iftar and Taraveeh.

According to the Power Division’s spokesperson, generation was recorded at 21,500 MW whereas demand was hovering around 23,859 MW showing a shortfall of 2,359 MW.

Nepra, in its letter sent to the Power Division, found underlying issue hampering continuity of supply including overloaded grid stations of the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC).

The NTDC’s grid stations have suffered extensive overloading, specifically in the service territories of Islamabad Electric Supply Company Limited (Iesco), Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) and Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco). This has caused the Discos to carryout forced load shedding to relieve overloading at 500kV Rawat, Sheikhupura, Gatti, Multan and Shikarpur grid stations, and 220kV Burhan, New Kot Lakhpat, Kassowal, Mardan, Bannu, Vehari, Muzaffargarh and Hala Road grid stations.

The regulator maintains that it allowed an investment of Rs. 96.63 billion to NTDC during the last three years (ie, FY 2014-15, FY 2015-16 & FY 2016-17) for the improvement and reliability of transmission network. However, NTDC has failed to bring any improvement in its network.

“Repeated power breakdowns, persistent overloading of NTDC’s grid stations, delay in projects (transmission lines & grid stations), power evacuation issues from power plants and additional 4-5 hours load shedding by Discos’ on account of NTDC’s system limitations indicate poor state of affairs of NTDC. Furthermore, NTDC also failed to intimate information regarding constraints in its network to Nepra,” said Nepra in its letter. Nepra’s letter to the Power Division and NTDC reinforces the assumption of caretaker Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk that the figures of NTDC presented in a recent meeting were not satisfactory. The available generation and demand figures at peak time show that there is a shortfall of around 10,000 MW despite addition of 10,000 MW in the system by the previous government. The country’s installed capacity has increased by above 43 per cent to 33000 MW from 23000 MW. However, growth in demand has been calculated at 10 per cent against the estimate of 8 percent of government’s organisation which indicates that the pace of increase in generation is behind actual growth in demand.

Nepra, while taking notice of current failures of the NTDC has directed the system operator to resolve the issue of overloaded grid stations expeditiously.

However issues with NTDC’s network remain unresolved and will foreseeably further aggravate in the months of July and August if immediate measures are not taken by the NTDC. In light of such concerns, Nepra issued directions to the NTDC to prepare and implement a prioritized plan for elimination of overloading and network issues.

Sources in the Power Division argue that demand has now crossed 26,000 MW at peak hours which is far higher than generation, forcing the entities to opt for load shedding aimed at saving the system from collapse.