The UK’s National Grid Company (NGC) has been awarded a concession for a £400 million ($600 million) project to build, own and maintain a high- voltage electricity transmission line. The company, which owns and operates the high-voltage network in England and Wales, is putting together a consortium to implement the project.

Two companies have already joined NGC on the project. They are the US’ Harza Engineering, which designed and built the original transmission system in Pakistan, and a local company identified as NPCC. Other partners will be brought in, allowing an independent transmission company to be created by the end of the year.

Two other UK companies will be heavily involved in constructing the network. Balfour Beatty and NEI Reyolle will undertake the turnkey construction of the project and supply the electricity substation equipment, respectively.

The project involves construction of 1,400 kilometres of 500-kV single circuit overhead line from Lahore in the north to Jamshoro in the south. Nine new or extended substations will also be built as well as a further 120 kilometres of 220-kV double circuit line.

About two thirds of the work is due for completion by December 1997, with the remainder by June 1999.

Originally, the government was offering two separate packages of work covering the northern and southern halves of the project. NGC has been awarded both, and this gives the company exclusive rights to negotiate and develop a project which will provide Pakistan with a fourth high-voltage circuit. NGC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the UK’s National Grid Holding, whose main shareholders are the 12 regional electricity companies of England and Wales. NGC is a member of a consortium which owns and operates Argentina’s high-voltage transmission system, and is providing technical assistance to the Power Grid Corporation of India.