Transmission Up Gradation-Solution To Power Crisis

P.S. I wrote this writing piece three months back but didn’t post on my blog but right now thought to share

Power crisis is prevalent issue in Pakistan. Persistent power load-shed, power theft and power overload are some of the persistent issues that have caused a drastic impact on thek-eLECTRIC developing sectors as well as general public at large.Summer season is the worst period for people of Pakistan because one observes a major gap between power demand and supply, resulting in prolonged hours of load-shedding or power breakdown in domestic sectors whereas, the crisis has left a negative impact on industrial growth and economic development on a large-scale.

Federal and provincial governments are trying to play a role in meeting the energy needs of the nation. Recently, Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif has made statement about ending power load-shed by 2018.According to his statement, total electricity production will increase to approximately 30,000 megawatt by 2018, which exceeds the country’s requirement.

A cursory glance on the ground reality reflects a different picture of what has been promised by Khawaja Asif. Let’s  have a look on the existing fact; the installed capacity in Pakistan is 24,375MW, however, last summer the demand was exceeded up to 16, 890 MW which was higher than expected available supply of 16, 441 MW.  A broaden gap in demand and supply, subsequently people bore prolong hours of power load-shed in entire country.

Power sector relies on three fundamentals; generation, transmission and distribution and synchronization in its operation enable smooth power supply across country. The government has founded several power projects to enhance power generation in a bid to counter power crisis. For this purpose solar, hydro, nuclear and coal resources have been used to generate electricity. The focus of present government in overcoming power crisis is to increase power generation, by adding more than 18, 000 MW in national grid during its tenure. But then question arises is power production the only element to overcome power crisis?

Considering power generation instrumental in ending power crisis reflects lack of comprehension on part of government. Without up gradation of grid stations and transformers, an inconsistency has been observed in power load which subsequently causes power tripping and as a result, the citizens suffer prolong load-shed predicament.Power tripping and power breakdown occur due to several reasons; however, there are two basic causes; firstly the electric wire fails to tolerate the load coming from power station and secondly power theft due to illegal hook connections. Transmission losses due to outdated infrastructure and power theft have worsened the situation.  The benefit of power production will only be observed when transmission and distribution network will be upgraded, subsequently reduction in line losses.

K-Electric’s recent initiative ‘TP-1000’is a stepping-stone in improving transmission and distribution of power across Karachi.TP-1000 is a transmission project,under which transformers and grid stations will be upgraded. The project includes addition of eight new grids, expansion of 21 existing grid stations while more than 400 new feeders will be added to provide better power load management across the city. It will allow 33% increase in power transmission while meeting the future requirements of the city.

With KE’s privatization, the company has invested in power generation by adding 1010 MW in grid. It has conducted massive anti-theft drives to eradicate the menace of power theft, including raids on daily basis, monitoring affected areas and cutting off illegal connections. Due to these immediate measures, the line losses have reduced from 35 percent to 24 percent since 2008. This project will complete in three years and after its completion, Karachiites may witness a reformed power transmission in coming days.

Power generation, alone will not solve power crisis, transmission and distribution have always been the backbone function of power sector, and improving its infrastructure will have a direct impact on the company’s efficiency. Following the footstep of KE, government should also reconsider its decision and works towards improving transmission and distribution network by upgrading state-run power grids and transformers with the long-term goal of enabling uninterrupted power supply to every citizen of Pakistan. As the saying goes, “The journey of thousand miles begins with a single step”.


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