Tuesday November 30, 2021

Pakistan goes dark

January 10, 2021

ISLAMABAD, KARACHI, LAHORE: The entire country plunged into darkness after it suffered complete power breakdown a few minutes before midnight.

The power blackout was caused by a sudden drop of frequency in the high transmission line (HTL) to 0 from 50. According to initial report, a technical fault appeared in the Guddu Power House at 11:45pm, owing to which the frequency in high transmission line (HTL) instantly went down, causing the closure of all power houses across the country.

Minister for Energy (Power Division) Omar Ayub Khan said: “The whole country has been exposed to electrical blackout and I am personally supervising the operation for restoration of power supply and right now I am in NPCC.” The energy minister further said that the blackout was caused after the frequency in the national power distribution system suddenly fell from 50 to zero.

Experts say that when a large plant trips, the voltage and frequency drops instantly. Plants that are on system are designed to automatically open breakers and isolate themselves to avoid damage. The power houses will now be back in the system one by one.

Wapda’s Muzammil Hussain said experts were engaged to energise the system by starting Tarbela power houses. He said Wapda experts will help the NPCC in energising the system in phases.

In all the provinces including Azad Kashmir, there is a blackout, an NPCC official said, adding that authorities are on toes to restore the power supply.

Information Minister Shibli Faraz also said that the breakdown had been caused by a "technical fault" in the NTDC system. "System is being restored," he tweeted.

Three units of Tarbela and power houses of Warsak have been made operational.

Managing Director National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) Khawaja Rifat Hassan has formed a high-level committee to investigate the cause of power breakdown.

A spokesman for NTDC said efforts were being made to restore the transmission system. “Power will be restored first for Islamabad and then in the whole country in phases. Official sources till the filing of this report said electricity supply would be resumed in Islamabad within three hours and the rest of country by 8:00am. The convener of the committee formed for investigating the cause of breakdown is General Manager GSO Malik Javed, while members include GM Technical Abbas Memon, Chief Engineer Protection and Control Atif Mujeeb Usmani and Chief Engineer Network Operations Sajjad Ahmed.

The spokesman said that once the initial frequency is restored, the normal resumption of power will take effect accordingly.

As much as 90 per cent of Karachi was without electricity as the city’s sole power supplier, K-Electric’s system collapsed after the Jamshoro transmission line tripped.

The Governor House, Chief Minister House, Jinnah International Airport, all major hospitals were deprived of power, however, many of such essential buildings had standby generators which could provide power for some hours. Major water pumping stations of Karachi Water and Sewerage Board also suffered a blow after the power breakdown due to which the water supply to the city was suspended. Small distribution pumping stations, according to the water board’s spokesperson could be run through generators.

Entire neighbourhoods witnessed black out including North Karachi, Surjani Town, Landhi, Gulberg Town, Nazimabad, North Nazimabad, Saddar, Defence Housing Authority, Clifton, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, PECHS, Korangi, Landhi and Malir besides many other areas of the city were affected due to the power breakdown.

Sindh’s Minister for Energy Imtiaz Sheikh said that a major plant seems to have tripped, which is being traced.

Electricity has been restored at Shahi Bagh gird and Bahria Town and restoration process at individual feeder was also underway.

The Ministry of Energy said electricity supply restoration has already been started in Islamabad. It said power has been restored on 19 feeders of Zero Point grid.