by Mushtaq Ghumman
ISLAMABAD: National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) in its preliminary report prepared on Monday accused K-Electric of not making appropriate investment in transmission and distribution systems due to which service quality, reliability and supply to consumers was seriously affected.
The regulator issued notices to K-Electric on different occasions in the past but did not take any action due to political pressures from Sindh government as well as one key political party of Karachi.
However, after the current heatwave which claimed about 2000 lives, blame of which was put on K-Electric, the regulator sent its team to Karachi for investigation.
According to an official statement, Nepra while taking note of recent power crisis in Karachi, constituted a high-level fact finding committee to ascertain the causes of frequent power cuts by K-Electric. The committee consisted of Masood Ahmad Khan consultant, Javed Pervaiz Consultant, Hussain Zaigham Alvi senior advisor technical and Mazhar Ranjha Director standards.
Insiders claim that during the meeting with K-E management, it was directed to provide information regarding investment in generation, transmission and distribution system, inventory of transformers and allied equipments and loading of the transmission and distribution system under the present conditions.
However, in spite of specific directions and subsequent reminders, K-E failed to provide the necessary information.
The committee visited affected areas of Karachi, met with electricity consumers and held series of meetings with management of K-Electric. The committee has given its preliminary findings and as per findings of the committee, K-Electric utilised its generation resources optimally during the crisis; however when it injected 2500-2700 MW electricity, its transmission and distribution system could not sustain it which resulted in tripping and breakdown.
Well-informed sources told Business Recorder .K-Electric has a weak distribution system resulting in frequent tripping and breakdown. Field visits to different areas revealed that the consumers are suffering from extraordinarily long duration of non-supply of electricity or power cuts.
The statement further stated that KE has categorised feeders from low loss to very high and carries out load shedding for 7.5 hours on very high loss feeders and 6 hours on high loss feeders during the day between 8am to 6 pm.
This implies that only two hours of power supply was provided in day time in very high loss areas. In addition to load shedding, system faults and tripping added to power cuts which resulted in no electricity for certain areas during the entire day.
“K-E has not made appropriate investment in strengthening/improving its transmission and distribution systems and due to its failure to invest in these critical areas, service quality, reliability and supply to the consumers was seriously affected,” the statement added.
“Based on the records it is established that K-Electric has under-utilised its own generation resources in the previous years. Further it is also established that K-Electric never supplied more than 2200 MW of electricity and during present crises when it injected around 2500 to 2700 MW, its transmission and distribution systems could not sustain that power resulting in system breakdowns and frequent tripping,” the sources added.
The sources further stated that K-Electric was required under its Implementation Agreement(IA) to add 1000 MW generation capacity to its system, however it added 1034 MW while 685 MW power generation plants were decommissioned or permanently closed, which effectively meant that it added only around 350 MW of capacity in its system.
K-Electric has total of 1431 feeders which are categorised by it as low loss (0-25% loss), medium loss (25-30% loss), high loss (30-50% loss) and very high loss (50% and above loss). K-Electric carries out load shedding for 7.5 hours (2.5 hours three times a day) on very high loss feeders, for 6 hours (2 hours three times a day) on high loss feeders, mostly from 8 am to 6 pm during the present crises which effectively means that only 2 hours of power supply was provided in day time in very high loss areas.
In addition to load shedding system faults and tripping added to power cuts meaning thereby that no electricity for certain areas during the entire day.
K-Electric carries out load shedding for 7.5 hours (2.5 hours three times a day) on very high loss feeders, for 6 hours (2 hours three times a day) on high loss feeders, mostly from 8 am to 6 pm during the present crises which effectively means that only 2 hours of power supply was provided in day time in very high loss areas. In addition to load shedding, system faults and tripping added to power cuts meaning thereby that no electricity for certain areas during the entire day.
Based on the information provided by K-Electric no load shedding is carried out on low loss feeders, however, area visits established that even low loss areas have no electricity for prolonged hours due to weak distribution system. K-Electric did not have enough inventory levels for replacement of its damaged and faulty equipment.
The data provided by K-Electric shows that during the period between18 to 24 June 2015, 104 Pole-Mounted Transformers were damaged out of which K-Electric was able to replace only 29 transformers within 12 hours whereas for replacement of rest of the damaged transformers it took 12 to 96 hours.
Besides this, non-availability of many other minor items such as neutral wires, clamps etc resulted in delayed restoration of system. Nepra further stated that final report is being prepared and further course of action will be taken in accordance with law as per final outcome of the report.
Source: Business Recorder