LAHORE -  The National Transmission and Dispatch Company Ltd (NTDC) has announced to connect 1,320MW Sahiwal Coal-Fired Power Plant with national grid through a 500 kV transmission line under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework.

Construction work of the 5 km long transmission line was completed in November 2016 ahead of its deadline. First unit of Sahiwal Coal-Fired Power Plant is expected to start 660MW power generation in May 2017 whereas power plant will be fully operational with 1,320MW in June 2017. The power will be evacuated through 500 kV grid station Yousafwala and 500 kV Grid Station Lahore.

According to the NTDC, the 500 kV transmission line Yousafwala-Lahore was closed for a week (January, 20 to 27 2017) to connect the newly-built 1,320MW Sahiwal Coal Power plant with the national grid. Resultantly, load management was carried out in LESCO, GEPCO and FESCO areas. However, the consumer were provided power through alternative sources. After restoration of the transmission line, the forced load shedding has been ended in aforementioned areas. The addition of 1320MW before summers will be a great relief for the people of Pakistan.

According to experts, the National Transmission and Despatch Company Limited has been entrusted by the government to improve and enhance the existing Electricity and Power Transmission and Dispatch network.

In this regard, one of the projects NTDC had to undertake was the development and construction of 250 Kilometer-long 500kV Double Circuit Transmission Line from Engro Thar to Matiari, Hyderabad Switching Station and the construction of Two Line Bays/Shunt Reactor at Matiari Switching Station. This transmission line is of great significance to the country as it will evacuate around 1,200MW of electricity from the region of Thar where power projects are being set up to utilise indigenous coal as the primary fuel. The total cost of this project being undertaken by NTDC is Rs22.3 billion.

For this project, NTDC had solicited debt arrangement offers from various financial institutions for an amount of Rs18 billion along with Letter of Credit Facility of over Rs15 billion for building transmission network. The consortium of Askari Bank Limited, Faysal Bank Limited and Dubai Islamic Bank Pakistan Limited (DIBPL as the Sharia Advisor) won the mandate in December 2015 after a competitive bidding process. The transaction is a combination of Islamic and Conventional mode of financing wherein Rs6.5 billion have been arranged in the Conventional Mode whereas Rs11.5 billion have been arranged in the Shariah Compliant Mode. This transaction has a door-to-door tenor of 15 years.