NEPRA’s clarion call

AS Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif once again expressed resolve of his government to end the load-shedding and bury it in 2018, watchdog of the power sector — NEPRA — has apprehended that the dream might not come true as most of the transmission lines and grid system improvement projects were moving significantly behind schedule. In its special “Visit Report”, based on on-site examination of the entire system and projects, it warns that due to slackness these projects are behind schedule by six months to three years.
We have been emphasizing in these columns that mere generation of more power would become irrelevant if there are no transmission lines to carry electricity from generating units to national grid and upgradation of the highly undependable and deficient national grid. Nation-wide and region-wide power breakdowns witnessed during the last several years were a clear testimony to the fact that the system needs to be improved, revamped and expanded. The present Government cannot be blamed for this but accumulation of neglect of several decades when no worthwhile efforts were made to improve national grid and distribution system. The present government deserves credit for launching a number of power projects both in generation and transmission fronts but the relevant authorities apparently did not pay due attention to implementation as the report reveals nine major transmission line and grid station projects that should have been completed between 2012 and June 2015 are still far from completion. The observation in the report that about 4,500MW of additional power generation capacity would be available in 2017-18 is acknowledgement of the Government’s claim in this regard but where would we take this power when system is not able to sustain more load and pressure. There is still time to move on fast track and we hope Prime Minister, who is taking personal interest in the issue of load-shedding, would take urgent measures to remove bottlenecks in way of fulfilment of his commitment to end load-shedding before next the general election.

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