With Pesco’s reluctance to buy trolley-mounted transformers to supply emergency power, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa administration is left with no choice but to take up the matter with the federal government.
K-P government officials told The Express Tribune that Chief Minister Pervez Khattak will discuss the issue with the Federal Ministry for Water and Power, once again. “We will ask the Centre to intervene and declare the decision taken by Pesco’s board of directors null and void,” said an insider, requesting anonymity.
Last Monday, Pesco issued a statement, saying its 100th board meeting expressed reservations over the K-P government’s proposal to purchase 1,000 transformers mounted onto trolleys.
If approved, the transformers would be used across the province for emergency purposes. They would be fixed on trolleys and distributed among Pesco subdivisions from where they would be driven to areas where existing transformers had been sent for repairs. “The trolley-mounted transformer would supply power to the area till the locality’s own device was fixed and reinstalled,” the official explained.
“We learnt of the board of directors’ decision through the media, but never received the minutes of the meeting, which are still awaited. Once received, the matter would be raised with the Centre,” said the government official.
He said the K-P government had asked the federal ministry to purchase the trolleys and transformers. On July 2, 2015, the Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif agreed. State Minister for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali is also said to have given the project his nod of approval.
The K-P government would also play its role by financing 500 of the trolleys. “These trolleys would be the property of Pesco,” he pointed out.
The official was of the opinion that Pesco’s hesitation towards the project was because it would end the power utility’s monopoly. “The transformers would be available in their subdivisions and connected to transmission lines to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the public.”
He added Pesco was making dozens of excuses to prove its competence, but these transformers would put an end to all of them. The insider said Pesco was also concerned that people would not return the trolley-mounted transformers once they were plugged in.
Pesco Spokesperson Shaukat Afzal said the power utility would have no objection to the project if their reservations—already conveyed to the K-P government—were addressed.
“Who will be responsible for the maintenance of the trolleys? What capacity transformers will be mounted on the trolleys, 100kva or 200kva?” asked Afzal. He added people would not return the trolley-mounted transformers once they were connected. “If a 100kva transformer gets burnt and you replace it with a 200kva trolley-mounted transformer, people would not let you take it back,” he said. “We have tried the trolley-mounted transformers before, but it was a bad experience.
He claimed Pesco had experimented with such transformers in the past, but they proved unsuccessful. The spokesperson also stated the trolleys needed proper maintenance and transportation arrangements Afzal said the K-P government should help Pesco buy both the trolleys and transformers, and make arrangements for their transportation and maintenance if this was a true partnership.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 2nd, 2015.