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WAPDA to float bonds to supplement resources.

Q. What new projects are likely to be commissioned in 1990 and 1991?

A. There are eight on-going thermal power units having a total installed capacity of over 1290 MWs which will Insha Allah come on stream in 1990 and 1991. These are Jamshoro Units 1-3 (670 MW), Kot Addu Combined Cycle (Steam) Units (2x100 MW), Muzaffargarh Units 1 and 2 (420 MW) and first unit of Pasni Diesel Power Generation Plant of 45 MWs.

In fact all out efforts are underway to complete and commission in the next 42 months, power generation plants, both hydel and thermal, in public as well as private sectors, equal to the capacity developed in the last 42 years after the creation of Pakistan. The present installed capacity of Wapda system is nearly 6,000 MWs (5,977 MW at actual). This, however, depends on availability of the required funds for the purpose. As at present; the factual position is that Wapda's full requirement of funds has not been met for the last many years.

Q. The progress in regard to private sector power projects is very slow. Do you think that this is due to lack of incentives and low power rates?

A. Private sector power projects are in the domain of Private Power Generation Cell of the Ministry of Water and Power, Government of Pakistan. The Government in the recent past has given go-ahead signal for the construction of a nearly Rs. 23 billion Hub River Thermal Power Project of 1292 MW in Balochistan Province which is world's biggest private sector power project. Similarly, a number of other such schemes, more or less of the same generating capacity, are also expected to be finalised in the near future.

Q. Do you think that loadshedding will be completely eliminated during the current year as promised in the past?

A. No. Loadshedding will not completely eliminate during the current year and no such commitment was made by Wapda. The current trends of power demand at an un-precedented rate of 11-12 per cent per annum is almost unmatched in the world. In fact, Wapda has been getting 50-60 per cent of its demanded funds for the last decade. In such circumstances it could not be promised that the loadshedding would completely eliminate during the current year. However, due to proper management of the available resources and efficient and conjunctive use of Tarbela and Mangla reservoirs, the loadshedding will not be as severe as in May last when 1800 MW shedding had to be done.

Yet, I am confident that the present elected government's keen interest and all out efforts for the addition of power generation facilities, both in public and private sectors, have brighter chances of doing away with loadshedding in the next 3-4 years, as also repeatedly stated by the Federal Minister for Water and Power, Mr. Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari.

Here, I would also like to emphasize that the power consumers have also a responsibility to share the available resources. They should use electricity but not waste this precious resource of energy and conserve as much as possible for not only reducing their bills but also for the productive industrial and agricultural sectors which are backbone of the national economy, and their rural brethren who are still waiting for this modern day basic need at this time when we are going to enter into 21st century. If each consumer on Wapda's system switches off one bulb of 100 Watts, they would save 700 MWs and thus help minimise loadshedding.

This coordinated and cooperative effort is very vital and call of the time to minimise the supply-demand gap on the system. Saving 700 MWs of power means helping the national exchequer avoiding billions of rupees of investment to build this much capacity as well as recurring cost of already scarce fossil fuels for this purpose, while the country has to spend billions of rupees of foreign exchange on the import of oil for power generation. At the present prices, development of one MW of power generation facility costs the nation about 24 million rupees. We should always remember that one kilowatt saved is more than one kilowatt produced.

The recent disclosure of Federal Senior Minister, Mohtarama Begun Nusrat Bhutto while inaugurating a seminar on Power Conservation in Lahore on March 24, that in the Prime Minister House, conservation measures have been taken and high wattage bulbs have been replaced by the lower wattage bulbs, also calls for following of this example by all and sundry.

Q. Would you mobilise resources through new bond issue this year?

A. Yes, like the past two year, Wapda, being out of the Government's Annual Development Plan for the last three years now and financially an independent body, will again float bond this year, to supplement its resources as approved by the Government of Pakistan. This is a requirement to meet the scarce rupee component of the development expenditure on power projects. However, the 3rd issue of Bond will have a maturity period of 10 years.

Q. Do you think that raising money through bonds is economical?

A. On the basis of the new rate of return as approved by the Government for the 3rd issue of Wapda Bond it is economical. However, the money borrowed through the previous two issues of the Bond can be called as expensive.

Q. Have you any new plans to control the widespread power theft?

A. Firstly, allow me to remove the prevailing wrong impression in certain quarters and assure that power theft is not so widespread as it is considered. A recent detailed study has shown that it is not more than 4 per cent in the Wapda's system.

The technical losses have successfully been brought down to 22.6 per cent from about 36 per cent in 1976-77, and, hopefully, would be further reduced through various corrective measures being taken by Wapda for this purpose. Our target of reducing the technical losses fixed for the current year (1990-91) is between 2 to 3 per cent which will Insha Allah be achieved.

Regarding measures to check power/theft, despite a little bit resistance from a few consumers, the process of shifting electricity consumption meters outside the old consumers' premises is on and the new meters are being installed outside the premises of the consumers. All these new meters, which are weatherproof and untamperable, are being enclosed in the sealed boxes.

Most of the big industrial units have already been given exclusive/independent feeders and the rest are being provided with. In addition, meters have also been installed at the grid end of the distribution feeders to monitor the units sent out to check the power theft. This measure has already paid dividends in overcoming power theft particularly in steel melting furnaces, the big consumers of electricity. In Lahore area alone, power theft worth Rs. 240 million per annum has been checked through this measure. Large scale renovation of the distribution system in big cities and towns at a cost of crores of rupees annually, is being caried out through bifurcation of long and overloaded 11 K.V. feeders, mapping of the feeders etc. are the measurers. These measures are expected to pay in the coming years in minimising distribution losses as well as incidences of power thefts. The most important measures already announced and being emphasised now-a-days is the Cash Reward Scheme for the patriotic citizens, which may include Wapda employees, assisting in catching power theft in any area of the country. The cash reward is up to 10 per cent of the amount recovered from any power stealer, for the person who will help in catching a power thief. It has been assured and ensured that the identity of a person informing power theft at any domestic, commercial, industrial or agricultural connection, or otherwise from the 11 K.V. line by applying otherwise from the 11 K.V. line by applying hooks etc. will be kept strictly confidential. The information in writing, in full confidence can be sent in a sealed envelope to Managing Director (Distribution), General Manager (Customer Services), General Manager (Public Relations) Wapda in Wapda House, Lahore or to the respective Chairman, Area Electricity Board, Wapda, Peshawar, Islamabad, Gujranwala, Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Hyderabad and Quetta Electricity Regions.

Q. Whether increase in the power rates is anticipated in the current year?

A. It is prerogative of the Government of Pakistan. I would like to only point out that with the current increase in oil prices as recently announced by the Government, the cost of the Furnace Oil and High Speed Diesel used at thermal power stations for the generation purposes has increased.

Q. What steps have you taken to increase efficiency of your various operations?

A. Wapda is fully alive to increase the efficiency of its various operations. For this purpose, a number of steps have been taken and many more are being taken. Some of the steps are as follows:

Wapda System already operates on its brink and has no spinning reserves which causes loadshedding due to the supply-demand gap on the system. This problem could easily be taken care of if Wapda had spare thermal capacity which could be used in the hydel short months. But this would entail investment of hundreds of billions of rupees for the construction of thermal power stations to be used only for the half year of hydel short period which a poor country like Pakistan cannot afford. Besides this would also involve a lot of fuel consumption of either Gas, Diesel or H.S.D., which our country cannot afford due to poor resource of fossil fuels. Therefore, emphasis is on maximum utilisation of hydel potential.

For this purpose, Tarbela's capacity is being doubled and four units of 432 MW each are under construction which will increase the present Tarbela capacity of 1750 MW to 3478 MW in 1992. Similarly, Mangla's power is being increased by adding two more units from 800 MW to 1000 MW. Efforts for early taking up of Ghazi-Ghariala hydel project, 1000 MW power availability throughout the year are also on. Hydel schemes in Azad Kashmir like Kohala and Neelum-Jhelum are being vigorously pursued. Whereas, studieson Basha Dam are also being carried out. The Government is also keen in having a political consensus among all the four provinces to undertake the Kalabagh dam project, designed to produce 3600 MW to cheap hydel power.

Combined Cycle Technology

The latest technique of combined cycle has been adopted at the existing and future thermal plants. As a result of current combined cycle schemes, about 800 MW of additional generation will be available on the system through heat recovery system of generation at the existing plants without using any fuel or gas. The combined cycle units include at Guddu (300 MW), of which 200 MW is already on bar; Kot Addu (400 MW), out of which 200 MW will be available next year. The proposal for setting up of 40 MW Combined Cycle Units, each at Faisalabad and Kotri thermal stations are also under consideration. As a result of these units a saving of millions of tons of fuel worth crores of rupees has been managed which obviously goes a long way in the national fuel conservation effort.

Rehabilitation and

Efficient

use of Old Thermal

Plants

Wapda engineers are maintaining some 30-35 years old thermal units which, according to manufacturers have outlived their utility. Now steps have been taken to further improve management/maintenance techniques through a computerised rehabilitation programme so as not only to reduce the maintainance time but also to bring down the outrage of the plants in addition to increasing their life span by another 10-15 years. Becoming more efficient, these units will also bring down fuel consumption per kilowatt.

Audit of Thermal Power Stations

Audit of various thermal power stations is underway to ascertain the areas where the consumption of fuel can be reduced and generation maximised.

Installation of Capacitors

on Transmission Lines

In order to minimise reactive power in the system, installation of capacitors is among the steps taken on the transmission side. Thousands of capacitors have already been installed on a large number of 11 K.V. feeders, while the implementation work on the installation of capacitors on higher voltage transmission lines of 66 KV and 132 KV is in full swing.

In addition to these technical steps, managerial and operational measures have also been taken which also include daily high level review of power generation capacity and demand to keep a watch on the system and loadshedding when required. Efficient and conjunctive operation of Mangla and Tarbela reservoirs for irrigation releases purposes by Wapda engineers also helped to have a minimum of 400 MW power generation at this time of the year due to the highest levels (ASL) in the two big storages these days.

Q. Your views on nuclear power projects with France and China. How soon these nuclear projects will be on stream?

A. It is basically dealt by Atomic Energy Commission. Nuclear power can be a big source of electricity production. In fact, the first 900 MW nuclear power unit was planned to come on bar in early eighties. But it could not be had due to international pressures. Now China and France have promised to help Pakistan in this area of the energy generation through the successful negotiations of the elected government. But the fact remains that due to environmental problems, capital cost of construction and commissioning cost of nuclear power is expensive. The only advantage is that its fuel cost is cheaper than the thermal power. However, the cheapest source of power is hydel followed by thermal and then nuclear power.

Q. Do you think that democratic system has improved the operational efficiency of Wapda?

A. Yes. The pace of development of generation and transmission facilities, rural electrification and grant of new power connections in various social sectors etc. has in fact gained momentum with the advent of the democratic system in the country. It can be judged from a few examples.

In the first year of the elected government in office (December 88 - November 89) Wapda gave as many as 590,000 new domestic, commercial, industrial and agricultural connections which is a record in any given year of Wapda's history. This was made possible mainly due to mobilization of funds and materials so as to do 'maximum with minimum', employing critical path methods.

New commercial procedure introduced in March 89 ensures a new domestic connection within 35 days and 45 days of the date of application in urban and rural areas respectively.

Nearly 3,000 villages were electrified in the one year period without distributing budgets and status of other sectors.
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Title Annotation:interview with Zahid Ali Akbar Khan; Pakistan. Water and Power Development Authority
Publication:Economic Review
Article Type:interview
Date:Mar 1, 1990
Words:2452
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