ISLAMABAD -  The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has expressed serious concern over the poor performance of the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) in the execution of the projects and said that more than dozen of its schemes are facing delays for which the company has paid $3.385 million as commitment charges to the donor agencies.

“Due to transmission and transformation constraints at Guddu and Uch-II projects during FY2014-15, more than 17 billion rupees loss was incurred to the national exchequer,” said NEPRA in its visit report released here. NEPRA recently visited sites of various projects of NTDC and compiled a report about the findings.

“NTDC’s performance in respect of execution of developmental projects has been poor. Due to delay in completion of projects ‘commitment charges’ are being paid to donor agencies, resulting in heavy loss to public exchequer” the report said. According the power regulator, NTDC has also mishandled National Power Control Center (NPCC) upgradation project. Besides, system constraints are posing serious threats to system reliability.

The authority further noted that there is a tendency to extend the completion time of projects which is “harmful” for the system. This practice of extending the due date of commissioning of projects of national interest has to be discouraged. It also asked the NTDC to stop the trend of providing interim arrangements for power dispersal as this may negatively affect the system reliability. Interim arrangement is an arrangement with which power is dispersed from a power plant with certain technical limitations. In other words, interim arrangement is unreliable scheme for power dispersal from any power plant.

The regulator has observed that NTDC has provided interim arrangement for power dispersal from Uch-II Power (Pvt) Limited and 747MW Guddu power plant.

NEPRA observed that at times, Uch-II power plant, which is one of the most economical power plants of the country, has to be shut down or operated below rated capacity due to system constraints of NTDC. Closure of Uch-II power plant causes loss of 0.375 million units of energy per hour. Further, closure of Uch-II for one hour causes monetary loss of Rs1.5 million. The financial loss incurred during financial year 2014-15, due to transmission system constraints, was 6.472 billion rupees, the report said. At least 115427 domestic consumers get affected due to closure of Uch-II power plant, this constitutes 0.57% of total consumers in PEPCO system.

Due to transmission and transformation constraints especially in winter season, at times one or more plants from Uch-II Power (Pvt.) Limited, Engro Power Gen Qadirpur, TNB Liberty and Foundation Power Company (Dharki) limited has to be shut down. It was noted that the total financial loss incurred due to transmission and transformation constraints at Guddu during FY 2014-15 is 10.682 billion rupees.

The interim arrangement gets highly unreliable especially in winters, NEPRA noted. Various projects of transmission lines for power evacuation from various power houses are much delayed. The projects which are already delayed from their contractual completion date are 220kv Chistian substation and Vehari grid station extension project; 220kv Gujrat Substation; 500kv Lahore New grid station; 500kv Rahim Yar Khan Grid Station; 500kv switching station at Moro; Associated transmission line from 500kv Lahore New grid station and 220kV Gujrat grid station; Associated transmission line for 500 kV Rahim Yar Khan Grid Station; Associated transmission line for 500kv Shikarpur Grid Station; installation of Static Var compensators at 220kv New Kot Lakhpat grid station. There are other projects whose interconnection arrangements for power generation projects are behind schedule and cannot be commissioned before the expected commissioning of power houses. This will cause power evacuation problems. These projects are Neelum Jhelum Hydro Power Project; Jhimpir & Gharo Wind Clusters; Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park (600MW) and Thar Coal based power generation projects.

The report further said that NTDC has no specific plans for reduction of transmission losses. The metering system at Common Delivery Points (CDPs) cannot be considered fully “secure”. Fault recorders are out of order at almost all grid stations of NTDC.

In its observations regarding 500kv Jamshoro-Moro-Rahim Yar Khan S/C transmission line, the authority said that it has been abnormally delayed for almost four years. In view of this fact and at existing pace of work the completion of line by December 2016 seems very difficult.

In its observations on the delay in commissioning of 220kv Mansehra grid station, NEPRA said it will not only cause serious power evacuation problems from Patrind HPP but also the low voltage problem will continue to persist in above mentioned areas.

In its comments, NTDC said that procurement of material is in progress and survey work being finalized/re-checked and land acquisition for 132kv Muzafarabad grid station is in process by AJK government.