Gridlocked

A few minutes past 2.30 am on Monday,Delhi experienced a complete “blackout” as a technical failure in Northern Grid disrupted supply not only to the national capital,but also to seven other northern states.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: July 31, 2012 12:56:56 am

A few minutes past 2.30 am on Monday,Delhi experienced a complete “blackout” as a technical failure in Northern Grid disrupted supply not only to the national capital,but also to seven other northern states — Punjab,Haryana,Rajasthan,Uttar Pradesh,Uttarakhand,Himachal Pradesh and J&K.

The nearly 8-hour power cut affected water distribution,Metro services and traffic signals in the city. Delhi Jal Board said its water treatment plants were shut for close to six hours,till 8.30 am,resulting in low supply during morning hours.

Delhi Metro started services on all its six corridors at 7 am,an hour late than the usual schedule.

DJB Member (Water Supply) B M Dhaul said early morning rains helped in today’s crisis. “We could not supply water in the morning. The functioning of the plants was normalised and supply was restored in the evening,” he said.

India has five power grids — Northern,Eastern,North-Eastern,Southern and Western — run by the state-owned Power Grid Corporation (PGC),which operates more than 95,000 circuit km of transmission lines. All are inter-connected,except the Southern Grid.

PGC Chairman and Managing Director A M Nayak told Newsline: “At least 15 per cent of the Northern Region Grid is fed by East and West regions. Transmission lines from East to North and from West to North had tripped,which stopped the import of electricity. Since the grid carries at least 5,000 MW load,the entire system collapsed.”

Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said a three-member panel — with Central Electricity Authority Chairperson A S Bakshi,Power Grid Corporation Chairman and Managing Director A M Nayak and Power System Operation Corporation Chief Executive Officer S K Soonee — will look into the failure of the Northern Grid. The panel is expected to submit its report in 15 days.

Nayak said the exact reason for the collapse will be established after the investigation. “Factually,there have been some constituents that have been drawing more power than their entitlement. We would not like to name them at this point as an investigation is underway. And this could only be one of the many reasons for the collapse,” Nayak said.

Delhi’s Power minister Haroon Yusuf,however,blamed Uttar Pradesh and Punjab for overdrawing from the grid. “More than 2,500 MW electricity overdrawn from the Northern Grid resulted in the tripping of generating stations in Delhi,except Badarpur Thermal Power Station. The demand of Delhi just before the disturbance was 3,384 MW,” Yusuf said

He said power supply in Delhi was disrupted at 2.33 am. It took power companies time till 3 pm to restore electricity supply in every household.

The first signs of return of power were seen at 8.15 am,when supply for essential services — Delhi Metro,DJB plants,hospitals and airport — was restored on priority basis.

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