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KARACHI: K-Electric has given yet another new date for the commissioning of its much-awaited 450 megawatt unit of Bin Qasim Power Station-III, as the company’s top officials informed that the plant is expected to come online ‘with optimum generation capacity’ by the end of May, 2022.

The 450mw unit of KE’s flagship 900MW RLNG-based BQPS-III project is at final stage, and the necessary tuning and trials are being conducted by the engineers on a regular basis.

“We are optimistic; the plant will come online by the end of this month,” project head BQPS-III Tahir Ali Khan informed a group of visiting journalists at the plant, Friday.

The plant is currently operational on a trial basis, and has touched 298mw of power generation on May 12, 2022 which is the highest generation in a single day since KE had completed the ‘first firing’ of the unit and synchronized the same with its network on 16 March 2022.

He said the German engineers are conducting tuning of the machine for the last two months. As per international standards, this process takes at least two and a half months. Tahir said: “The Germans want thorough tuning of the machine before they hand over it to US. They do not comprise on policy, they have worldwide reputation.”

He said K-Electric and Pakistan LNG Limited (PLL) have already entered into a Gas Supply Agreement (GSA) for the supply of 150 mmcfd RLNG for the 900MW BQPS-III plant. We required an average 130mmcfd gas for the 900mw plant. “

The required gas is available, now.” He said this plant will bolster Karachi’s power supply as the project is part of KE’s planned initiatives designed to bridge Karachi’s demand-and-supply gap by the end of financial year 2021-22.

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When journalists entered the monitoring room for the tuning observation at around 12:30PM, the plant was generating 118 mw units. However, within a few minutes, the production increased and reached to 145 MW units.

It is relevant to mention here that KE has given different dates for the commissioning of first unit of 450MW plant for the last one year, but to no avail. Its commissioning was first due in May and then in November 2021, however, KE has not yet been able to inject this much-needed electricity into its system with its optimum generation capacity.

Director Communication KE, Imran Rana said this 450mw unit is crucial to secure the growing energy needs of Karachi which is the economic and commercial hub of Pakistan. He said the 2nd plant of 450mw is also under construction. He hoped that the unit will also come online by the end of December 2022.

He said KE is facing a power shortfall of around 300mw at peak hours, and in order to mitigate power needs, it has introduced load management plan under which the very-high loss, and high-loss residential areas are being subjected to load shedding. These areas include mostly slum neighbourhoods of the metropolis where power thefts are prevalent.

As the city’s demand goes up, KE begins carrying out extended load shedding in the city, which irks Karachiites. The power-hit consumers take to roads and streets to protest against the company for the power outages.

Power demand in the city is growing at 5 percent on an average per year, and has touched around 3400 mw in this peak season. But KE’s own generation capacity excluding the upcoming 900MW BQPS-III stands at around 1,767MW that include BQPS-1, 760mw, BQPS-2, 560mw, Korangi Power Complex 247mw, Korangi Power Station 100mw, and Site power station 100mw.

As per energy experts, this 1,767MW capacity is not enough to ensure sustainable and reliable power supply to KE’s 3.2 million consumers spanning over 6500Km squire area from Karachi to Dhabeji and Gharo in Sindh, and Uthal to Vinder and Bela in Balochistan province.

The company, in order to mitigate the power demand is getting around 1,500 MW from the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC), and some Independent Power Producers (IPPs). The addition of 900MW RLNG power plant will help ease the power woes of Karachi, besides increasing the power utility’s generation capacity, efficiency and reliability, KE officials hoped.

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