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August 5, 2018

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Loadshedding hits back again

ISLAMABAD: The menace of loadshedding on Saturday again gripped many parts of the country on account of just 200MW hydro generation from Mangla dam, which triggered the imbalance in electricity generation between southern and northern sides of the country, leading to the overloads at grid stations at Ghakkar, Rawat and Gatti resulting in load management to save the system.

According to top power division sources, it is the Mangla which is generating not more than 200MW causing the imbalance between the electricity generation produced in southern and northern sides of the country. In northern side of the country, only hydro generation is being produced which is far less than the electricity generated in the southern side.

Tarbela dam is generating just 3000MW of electricity where as Neelum Jhelum project is performing good at over 650MW. As per the Sunday morning at 8.30 am, the electricity generation stood at 22000MW whereas the demand was calculated at 21978MW so the shortfall was at zero.

However, Wapda spokesman said that on account of tripping of transmission line, the three units of Mangla got closed down which was later restored and have started generation. But the Power Division spokesman said that less generation by Mangla caused tripping leading to the massive loadshedding in many parts of the country starting from Attock, Rawalpindi to Chakwal, Jhelum leading up to the jurisdictions of Gujranwala Electric Power Company (Gepco) and Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco).

Top sources said that during the ongoing summer season, the imbalance in electricity loads the transmission lines (TLs) carry from northern and southern parts of the country has emerged as most potential threat to the electric power system. “This is unprecedented and unique phenomenon in its kind that emerged for the first time. In the current summer season so far, the hydropower, that is generated in northern parts of the country, remained lower, which is why the transmission lines from northern region stayed under loaded and the transmission lines having electricity from southern parts and Punjab remained over loaded during peak demand which existed all the time in these days because of hot weather.”

All the base load plants currently exist, Khokhar said, in southern parts of the country and in Punjab and these plants are currently catering to the 90 percent needs of the country.

On account of the massive fall in hydropower in this season particularly in Mangla dam, he explained, the transmission line carrying electricity from northern region are under loaded and the lines coming from southern parts are overloaded and this creates the imbalance in the load, which is a potential threat to the system and it forces the management to go for loadshedding to save the system.

And to avert the imbalance, he disclosed that the top authorities have started pondering to establish one or two load based power plants in northern parts of the country, somewhere may be in Pothohar region, or Peshawar and Hazara division. And this will establish the balance between the loads from both sides (southern and northern parts of the country). “Once the idea to establish load based power plant gets matured, then PPIB will be taken in the loop to initiate the required proceedings to this effect.”

In northern parts of the country, the system has only hydropower projects, which run on the availability of the water and this time 40 percent water inflows reduced on account of phenomena of climate change which is why the hydropower remained not up to the mark. These projects cannot be termed as base load plants as the electricity from hydropower plants keeps on fluctuating and some time it touches the lowest ebb. “The climate change is very much here to stay and the top mandarins of power division are left with no option but to balance the load in transmission lines by setting up the load based power plants in the upcountry to keep the system safe from this threat.”

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