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ISLAMABAD: Admitting that the teams have not yet been able to determine exact source of fault in the system even after the passage of 48 hours, Minister for Power, Khurram Dastgir Khan announced conducting a safety audit of whole transmission network including the aspect of hacking of system.

Addressing a presser on Tuesday, he said electricity has completely been restored after yesterday’s breakdown and the country’s 1112 grid stations stand restored and there is none which is not energized. He said load shedding would take place in the coming 48 hours because nuclear and coal power plants require up to 48 hours to be operated fully after which KE system will also be restored.

“We are still unable to detect the technical fault in the power system,” Dastgir said adding that the possibility of external interference like hacking would be investigated though he acknowledged that chances of external interference with the help of internet were meagre.

He said, the purpose of audit is to contain the fault geographically and it should not spread like what happened on Monday.

Power restoration remains underway as outage lasts nearly 18 hours

He said a three-member committee led by State Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Masood Malik had been constituted by the Prime Minister to probe the matter and submit a preliminary report within seven days as Power Division and its allied Organisations are cooperating fully with the Committee.

He said the Committee has also been provided the required data for formulating an honest and logical report. The Minister further stated that deeper investigations are required to identify exact cause of the fault in the transmission system.

“Presently, most of the system is not operating on computers due to which the chances of any outside intervention are meagre but a separate investigation of this aspect has been launched to ensure that there was no intervention given the existing cyber system,” Khan maintained.

The Minister for Energy said the exact reason for the technical challenge that was experienced in the North and South transmission line at 7.30 am yesterday has not yet been determined.

Nuclear power plants in Karachi and Chashma would require 48 hours to 72 hours to come to the system and that process has started, Dastgir said adding that the coal power plants also require 48 hours. Sahiwal and EngroThar coal units have been synchronized and soon they will start producing electricity.

The Minister said there will be some shortage of electricity in the next 48 hours; therefore, there will be limited load shedding but the industrial sector will be exempted.

The country’s peak demand in winter is 8,600 MW whereas in summer it reaches 30000-MW, Dastgir noted. He added that the previous government did not make sufficient investment on the transmission system. He said Pakistan’s system is designed for 30,000 MW.

“In winter months, we run only those least cost plants which meet the required demand of the country,” he added.

The Minister further observed that as the safety audit of transmission system is completed, measures will be taken to further bifurcate different points so that in case of fault, it should remain within a limited area. He gave full credit to PML Supremo, Nawaz Sharif for establishing and improving the country’s infrastructure including transmission lines like Lahore-Matiari transmission line, generation and nuclear power plants in Karachi.

The Minister for Energy said that the transmission system remained safe from this disturbance in the system and that there is no shortage of fuel and it is available in sufficient quantity to produce electricity.

However, industrial consumers would be exempt from the power load-shedding as per the policy of the incumbent government.

As per details, out of total 111 grid stations of Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO), electricity has been restored on 96 grid stations while electricity has been restored on 86 grid stations out of 176 of the Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO).

Electricity has been restored on 40 grid stations of Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO) out of a total 113 grid stations. Out of total 138 grid stations of Multan Electric Power Company (MEPCO), electricity has been restored on more than 50 grid stations.

KhurramDastgir said despite the extensive breakdown, there were some areas in the federal capital and Peshawar where electricity remained available all the time. Similarly, there was no disruption in power in the flood hit areas of Sindh and Balochistan.

The Minister for Energy commended the efforts of the National Transmission and Dispatch Company, Power Division and WAPDA for restoring power supply.

In reply to a question, Minister said, Rana Abdul Jabbar was appointed MD NTDC for six months and his term expired on January 7, 2023, adding that he is no more MD of NTDC. He said, new MD will be appointed soon as per laid down process.

He further stated that some observations about appointment of DMD NTDC, Ali ZainBanatwala are in the notice of Power Division and action will be taken in this regard. In response to another question, the Minister said that KE has improved its system substantially with respect to transmission and distribution but not generation due to which the power utility depends for 1000-1100 MW electricity from national grid.

KE was to enhance its generation capacity which did not materialize due to which consumers of Karachi are suffering, he stated.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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