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Wednesday June 29, 2022

NTDC’s 80pc grid stations lack fault recording system

April 22, 2022

LAHORE: National Transmission & Despatch Company’s (NTDC) near 80 percent power grid stations lack proper event and fault recording mechanism, which results in frequent breakdowns amid long spells of announced and unannounced load-shedding in the country.

“Owing to such criminal negligence, power transmission utilities did not have the ability to record, locate, promptly repair and fix responsibility for power breakdowns,” official sources told The News.

An alleged major willful negligence has been unearthed in NTDC, wherein 16 power grid stations out of 20 were not equipped with any Event and Fault Recorder (EFR) system.

Owing to this, NTDC lacked the ability to record, locate, promptly repair and fix responsibility for power breakdown.

This is fundamentally a major breach in delivering a verifiable power transmission network.

One of major beneficiaries of such severe deficiency in power grids are said to be independent power producers (IPPs) as with no evidence of power failures originating from these power plants, imposition of penalties and remedial measures cannot be initiated on their management, sources said.

These findings are not mere allegations, rather based on an official report prepared by a working group formed by NTDC itself.

Without proper digital monitoring mechanism, fault analysis cannot be done including fault location and subsequent diagnoses of the whole event.

If NTDC was able to evolve the ability to record a power failure fault properly, a systematic process could be launched to fix it.

According to the report titled ‘Commissioning and Time Synchronisation of Faulty/Non-commissioned EFRs at NTDC Grid Stations, North Circle, an eight-member working group was constituted for commissioning and time synchronisation of faulty/noncommissioned EFRs at various NTDC grid stations.

In its findings, the working groups observed that only four grid stations were equipped with functional and updated EFRs.

According to the working group’s report, in many grids stations EFRs are not installed on all bays, therefore it is strongly recommended that all the bays be equipped with them for complete monitoring of the system.

It has been observed that at the time of energisation of the grid stations, the commissioning of EFRs is usually overlooked, and the equipment eventually serves its useful life un-commissioned, hence defeating the purpose of its procurement / installation.

Therefore, it is recommended that in future, the EFRs should be commissioned prior to the energisation of the grid station with dedicated GPS.

It was noted that there are grid stations where event & fault recorders are non-operational after commissioning due to problems in the hardware/software communication/licence corruption, beside there are a number of grid stations where NTDC management has failed to install updated versions of obsolete EFRs.

The working group recommended that the obsolete EFRs at six identified grid stations be replaced with the latest technology numerical/digital EFRs with dedicated GPS Clock in 1+1 configuration having all the communication interfaces i.e., optical, serial, BNC, ethernet etc.

It is worth mentioning here that NTDC has been facing a series of nationwide breakdowns in recent years. No proper analysis of this situation has been done as yet, despite the fact that multiple recurring transmission grid failures plunge cities in darkness for hours and sometimes days on end.

One of the main reasons for these power suspensions is non-existence of proper monitoring mechanism. Moreover, NTDC seldom puts blame for such failures on IPPs (Independent Power Producers), said sources.

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