Transmission system upgradation

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DESPITE the claims made by previous government of adding ten thousand megawatts of electricity to the national grid, the people continue to suffer from power outages including during Sehr and Iftar timings, much to the agony and distress of the consumers. As highlighted by National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) in a statement on Friday, the underlying cause hampering a smooth electricity flow is overloaded grid stations of the NTDC, which on the one hand really exposes the inefficiency and weaknesses of our transmission and distribution system and on the other hand also shows the apathy of relevant quarters of not doing enough to upgrade the system to bear the burden of additional generation.
The NEPRA also stated that over the last three years, it allowed NTDC an investment of Rs96.63 billion for improvement and reliability of the power transmission network. Nevertheless, recent outages and genuine concerns expressed by the regulatory authority reflect that the national company failed to bring any worthwhile improvement in its network and the cost currently is being borne by the consumers, and the situation may worsen given the high temperatures in the next two months if the corrective measures were not undertaken. Quite recently whilst testifying before a special committee of the Senate, Additional Secretary of Power Division Musaddiq Khan had said that the power sector’s distribution network requires a lot of upgradation and strengthening to completely overcome load shedding. For this to achieve, he said an investment of $ 40-50B is required which indeed is a big amount by all means for a country like Pakistan but the investment will have to be made even in phases in order to fully utilize the generation capacity and provide electricity to all the consumers including industries and domestic in an uninterrupted manner. Those sitting at the NTDC need to immediately prepare and implement a plan for the upgradation of entire system. Then the regulatory authority is also required to only issue directions but being the watch dog must also ensure their implementation. In addition, the issue of circular debt which has reached alarming proportions due to neglect of successive governments needs to be addressed. Checking leakages such as line losses and power pilferage will greatly help put the power sector on a strong financial footing and enable it to make much needed investment in the upgradation of the system. We hope that any next government after the poll will adopt a clear-cut policy on it as it has become vital to steer the power sector out of current dire straits.