By AHMAD AHMADANI
National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has approved Rs0.74 per kilowhatt tariff for 4000MW Matiari-Lahore Transmission Line Project and asked the government to issue notification in this regard, while the Chinese firm working on it has refused to construct the project at the approved tariff.
Regulatory authority has finally declined to increase the cost and tariff of Matiari-Lahore Transmission Line Project, which was sought by Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) on the advice of the Ministry of Water and Power.
PPIB in its review petition against the approved tariff of Rs.71 per unit asked the regulatory authority to fix the tariff at Rs.95/unit. However, the regulatory authority has finally approved Rs0.74 per unit tariff of the project and rejected the plea of PPIB.
The Matiari-Lahore transmission line project – Pakistan’s first high-voltage transmission line project worth $2.1 billion – is being built under the CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor), as per the decision of the Ministry of Water and Power.
Earlier, a Chinese firm expressed its readiness to construct the transmission line project and it was assigned the task. However, later on the firm has declined to materialize the project at the approved tariff and cost. “Chinese firm is not willing to lay the 878-kilometer-long transmission line at the level of approved tariff,” official sources said, adding, “If the project is not constructed then 1320 mw of electricity from the power plant at Port Qasim and 4000mw from Thar power plants will not be transmitted to Lahore.”
Background interviews and discussions with officials of the Power Ministry disclosed that power load shedding would not end in 2018 if construction of this high-voltage power transmission line project was not feasible. Annually, transmission of 35 billion power units through the Matiari-Lahore transmission line and transmission of electricity from the power projects being built in Sindh province to the province of Punjab was do-able. This high transmission line would have a power wheeling capacity of 4,000MW.
The Matiari-Lahore transmission line project will have the maximum capacity of transmitting 4,000 MW from generation capacity of about 4,950 MW. The transmission line will receive electricity from coal-based Engro Thar, Jamshoro, Sino Sindh Resources and Oracle power plants as well as from K2 and K3 nuclear power projects. The proposed transmission line will start from Matiari district near Hyderabad in Sindh and end at Punjab district of Nankana Sahib near Lahore. With 360-km portion of it falling in Sindh, the transmission line will mostly run through Punjab.
Regulatory authority (NEPRA) while approving Rs0.74 per kilowhatt tariff for the 660KV ( kilovolt) HVDC Matiari-Lahore Transmission Line Project on a tariff petition has also issued list of directions to be addressed by National Transmission Despatch Company Limited (NTDCL) and PPIB (Private Power and Infrastructure Board).
The regulatory authority has directed to ensure reliable and robust power transmission corridor fully integrated with the power generation projects at the sending end and fully capable of receiving at the Lahore converter station. “It should be ensured that generation load of 4000 MW is timely and consistently available for this transmission line,” NEPRA said.
The NEPRA directed NTDCL to effectively and efficiently manage in its network the energy transmitted through this HVDC transmission line. Technical and financial capability should be duly ensured with regards to various obligations being entrusted for this HVDC transmission line. All required system studies as claimed should be timely completed by the EPC contractor and NTDCL.
Similarly, necessary contingency planning should be carried out for HVDC Transmission Line as it has envisaged significant energy transmission from south to load centres in the country. Compliance should be ensured with grid code and NEPRA Performance Standard (Transmission) Rules, 2005. “NTDCL to ensure mitigation measures for reinforcement to strengthen its network after completion of detailed studies,” NEPRA’s decision said.
Likewise, NEPRA directed PPIB and NTDCL to ensure that limits of reactive power exchange between HVDC link and AC system needs are clearly defined and duly complied. Minimum possible transmission line length should be ensured giving due consideration to future transmission plans, social and environment aspect. “Among other benefits, it will also reduce the construction cost, land cost and associated maintenance and security costs,” NEPRA said, adding, “About the security related costs claimed as part of this project cost should not duplicate the amount and security measures as assured to CPEC projects and also confirmed by the government in the cooperation agreement signed for this project.