The National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) has announced that it will install anti-fog disc insulators at Port Qasim, Karachi.
The move comes after the electricity distributor faced severe criticism in the past 72 hours following tripping of some power plants and a few 500-kilovolt transmission lines.
This is not for the first time that the NTDC is feeling the pain from tripping of the main 500kv and 220kv transmission lines, which resulted in prolonged power outages in Punjab and the federal capital.
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In the past too, similar situations had resulted in widespread blackouts in the country, especially in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), where dense fog coupled with environmental pollution caused the damage.
The NTDC has floated tenders and it is expected that the anti-fog insulators will be installed at Port Qasim by March this year.
“Once installed and served the purpose of sustaining the dense fog and pollution, the scope of this technology will be extended to other areas and later to the entire network,” revealed NTDC Managing Director Zafar Abbas while talking to The Express Tribune.
He added that the NTDC had floated tenders for installing such insulators last year but no company expressed interest due to the scope of work and little or no expertise in installing the equipment without cutting off electricity from high-tension wires.
There are millions of insulators installed over a stretch covering more than 16,000km-long main transmission lines, which are owned and maintained by the NTDC and according to the managing director, approximate price for such technology is around $20 per insulator.
“This translates into a huge amount if we try to replace old insulators with anti-fog technology. It is better for us to move according to available resources as we are a government entity, which has to follow certain rules and regulations,” the MD pointed out.
For Abbas, the pollution level in certain areas surrounding the main transmission lines and power plants has increased manifold in recent years and it has now become a joint responsibility for the departments, primarily the environmental department, to take corrective measures to curb the pollution caused by industrial units.
“We have already noted the difference this year, when the environmental department stopped operations of polluting units, which brought down the smog level this year,” Abbas added.
Talking about the quality and upgrade of the national transmission network, Abbas said the NTDC was continuously investing in upgrading the transmission lines. Apart from this, the company has the machinery to wash high-voltage lines.
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“We wash transmission lines and are continually upgrading the entire network on a regular basis. It all depends on the load. We are continuously installing new transformers at 220kv load stations, establishing new grid stations where ever required and connecting them with new lines to divert load,” he said.
Nonetheless, the country’s load is increasing with each passing day, which needs time, resources and expertise. “I wish to transform the entire network by tomorrow but we have budget constraints; we are also replacing decades-old transformers with latest ones. It is an ongoing process and the NTDC is striving to work within its resources,”