KARACHI: The much delayed DHA Cogen Power and Desalination Plant, located in Karachi’s Defence Housing Authority, will be online by August, DHA Administrator Brigadier Khalid Tirmizi told The News on Tuesday.
The 80-megawatt gas-fired plant was slated to start production earlier this year but was delayed owing to a number of reasons.
This announcement has been welcomed because of the ongoing power crisis in Karachi, where rioters have damaged property worth millions of rupees over the past couple of days following a major power outage. The outage came on the heels of a record downpour in Pakistan’s largest city on Saturday, which left civic services in a mess.
Brigadier Tirmizi said the fact that the plant has been brought back on track has to do with the efforts made by officials as well as all stakeholders. “We wanted to show that the project would succeed. And I am happy to say that Secretary Defence, the Corps Commander and senior officials of the Water and Power Ministry have played a vital part.”
Apart from a shortage in power generation capacity, Karachi’s local power utility also suffers from an outdated power transmission and distribution system. Enhancement of local power generation facilities is being seen as a step towards improving the power situation in the country in the coming years.
However, negotiations still have to be finalised with the Karachi Electric Supply Company over the sale of power from the plant to the utility. Brigadier Tirmizi said negotiations with Sui Southern Gas Company had been completed and now the plant was entering its testing phase.
It may be recalled that DHA Cogen is the first power and water project of its kind in the country. It started supply of water and electricity to people of Karachi in April 2008. DHA Cogeneration Plant is a project undertaken as a joint venture with foreign investment.
In June 2008, AEI Asia Limited (Hong Kong), a subsidiary of Ashmore Funds (USA), acquired a controlling interest in DCL. The group operates in more than 20 countries.
DHA Cogen Limited (DCL), which was supplying three MGD water to the city and 80 MW of electricity to KESC since April 2008, stopped working owing to a technical fault. The plant stopped power production after strong recommendations by Siemens Pakistan, the project designer, which investigated some technical problems in the gas turbine.
The plant was to provide three million gallons of water per day to residents of Defence and Clifton, and 80 megawatts power to the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC).
Earlier this year, banks agreed to provide 50 per cent of the plant’s repair cost after the contractor asked for an extra $10 million for repair and revival of the plant. This was the bone of contention between the contractor and the operating company.
Under a deal worked out with banks, the remaining 50pc extra cost would be borne by DCL, a company in which the Defence Housing Authority has a stake.
The executive board of DHA was briefed in January 2009 that the plant, which fell into disrepair on September 12, 2008, would restart its functioning by early March after repair and replacement of its damaged parts. This date has now been moved to August. Under the second phase of the plant, power production will be enhanced to 105 MW while desalination of water will rise to 5 MGD.