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NTDC hit with Rs50 million fine by NEPRA over nationwide blackout in Jan 2021

NEPRA says it sent NTDC explanation and show-cause notice as well

By Web Desk
May 06, 2022
Electrical grids in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah. Image for representation only. — AFP
Electrical grids in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah. Image for representation only. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has fined the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) Rs50 million over its inability to restore power during the blackout in January 2021, Geo News reported.

The regulators issued a statement saying that when the power system collapsed earlier last year, NTDC took about 20 hours to restore the system.

NEPRA said that it had considered the matter to be very serious and had formed an inquiry committee to “thoroughly investigate the matter” under the body’s laws, rules, and regulations.

“The committee conducted the said inquiry and presented a detailed report to the authorities, on the basis of which the authorities initiated legal proceedings against NTDC,” said the regulator.

NEPRA said that it had sent the company an explanation on April 1, 2021 “under Rule 4(1) of the NEPRA (Fines) Rules 2002” and a show-cause notice as well on August 25, 2021, under “Section 27B of the NEPRA Act."

“Moreover, an opportunity of hearing was also granted to NTDC on January 12, 2022, however, NTDC failed to provide any satisfactory response and was found guilty of violating relevant provisions of the Grid Code. Therefore, the authorities have imposed a fine of Rs50 million on NTDC,” said the statement.

The regulator also said that they have “initiated legal proceedings against the power plants concerned for their lapses, deficiencies, and failure,” when the breakdown occurred last year. It added that the power plants were being dealt with separately under the same process.

Major breakdown witnessed across the country

On January 9 of last year, a major power breakdown plunged the entire country into darkness, the then federal minister for energy, Omar Ayub Khan, confirmed in a statement.

The blackout occurred minutes before midnight across the country, and citizens took to social media to report outages. As outages hit major cities, mobile and internet services were also affected.

The energy minister had said back then that the power breakdown occurred when the frequency in the NTDC suddenly fell from 50 to zero.

The power was restored across the country gradually when the breakdown occurred.