Power blackout hits Bangladesh as substation glitch breaks link with India

Bangladesh has a cumulative load of around 5,000 MW.

By: Press Trust of India Written by Anil Sasi | New Delhi | Updated: November 2, 2014 1:21 am
bangla A Bangladeshi man walks in a shopping mall during a blackout in Dhaka on Saturday. (Source: PTI)

Bangladesh was hit by a blackout around noon on Saturday that resulted in a near-total grid failure on their side, which then led to a disruption in power supply from India to that country.

Bangladesh’s initial reaction to the outage was to blame it on a tripping of the link between the two countries that has been operational since October 2013. Indian grid managers have substantially rebutted this, saying the glitch originated in the Bangladesh power grid system, which led to a tripping of a key HVDC (high voltage direct current) terminal at Bheramara in southwestern Bangladesh and supply from India stopped as a result.

The HVDC terminal is a crucial gateway of the inter-country grid system that hooks up the two power networks through a 400-kilo volt line that runs from Baharampur in West Bengal to Bheramara, with a capacity to wheel about 500 MW of power between the two countries.

At the time of power disruption in Bangladesh, India was maintaining its routine supply of around 450 MW through the HVDC terminal at Bheramara. According to Indian officials, the blackout resulted in a tripping of the HVDC terminal and supply from India stopped. The terminal interconnecting the two grids is designed in such a manner that power to Bangladesh can be transferred only if the systems on the Bangladeshi side maintain normal frequency. The outage on the Bangladesh side led to a drop in frequency, causing the terminal to snap.

Bangladesh has a cumulative load of around 5,000 MW.

According to officials, till late Saturday evening, Bangladesh had not been able to restore the western part of its grid and as a result, the supply from the Indian side is yet to be resumed. They said no grid disturbance had been reported on the Indian side and the grid parameters have remained stable throughout the day.

Incidentally, Bangladesh’s initial reaction was to blame the blackout on the failure of the transmission line bringing electricity from India. Masum-Al-Beruni, managing director of the state-run Power Grid Company of Bangladesh Ltd was quoted by the Associated Press as saying the blackout was caused by a “technical glitch” and indicating that it could have to do with the line with India.

The head of the national grid in Bangladesh, Chowdhury Alamgir Hossain, reportedly told the Dhaka Tribune newspaper that the power cut began after “a technical glitch at a substation distributing power from India”.