Transmission lines not set up to evacuate electricity from Thar

National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) held a public hearing on the financial cost associated with the incomplete transmission lines to evacuate electricity from Thar, which may cause a loss of Rs. 80 billion. Moreover, Nepra’s Monitoring and Enforcement (M&E) Section proposed a deduction of Rs. 5.465 billion from National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) for generation curtailment from Thar coal projects of Engro Thar and Thar Energy Limited. The CFO of NTDC argued that transmission lines were delayed due to constraints, including substantial escalation in cost, rupee depreciation, and COVID-19.

CEO of CPPA-G Rehan Akhtar noted that bidding and award were based on a fixed price, and when the price escalated, the contractor discontinued the work. NTDC had to go for re-bidding, and subsequently, a new contractor was selected. After considering the entire scenario, the NTDC Board allowed the contractor to have an escalation clause, and subsequently, he resumed the work. Chairman Nepra stated that since NTDC is a public sector organization, it should have approached the government for remedial measures, but it took 12-18 months to understand the issue.

During the hearing NEPRA expressed concerns over NTDC for not taking measures to isolate North and South during a technical fault, which led to the country’s entire electricity deprivation.