LAHORE: Several parts of Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab were hit by a power outage that lasted between 12 and 16 hours after the 500kV Guddu-Dadu and Guddu-Shikarpur transmission lines and several 220kV and 132kV transmission lines, and all turbines at the Guddu thermal power plant tripped early morning on Monday.
The malfunction had occurred because of dense fog and pollution and caused a shortfall of between 1,200MW and 1,700MW from the grid.
The affected districts included Ghotki Dadu, Kashmore, Sukkur, Khairpur, Larkana, Sanghar, Shikarpur and Nawabshah in Sindh and Rahim Yar Khan, Rajanpur, Bahawalpur, Layyah and Multan in Punjab. The situation also affected some areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
According to a spokesperson for the Ministry of Water and Power, the 500kV transmission system from Karachi to Peshawar had been affected, creating two major affected zones — Karachi-Dadu and Shikarpur-Peshawar. He claimed that the National Transmission and Dispatch Company Limited’s (NTDCL) transmission lines had been restored by Monday evening.
However, NTDCL officials said the 500kV Guddu-Dadu transmission line had tripped first at around 5.30am and the Guddu-Shikarpur 500kV transmission line later.
“In the meantime, the Gudu power plant’s turbines stopped working one by one due to dense fog and pollution, disrupting electricity supply to many areas of Sindh and Punjab. Some parts of Balochistan and KP were affected due to the impact of 500kV lines tripping further on 220kV on the NTDC system and 132kV on the power supply system of 132kV lines operated by distribution companies,” an NTDCL official explained. The official claimed that the plant’s turbines had become partially operation from 12 noon to 5pm.
He said some areas of central and upper Punjab had been affected because of tripping or forced shutdowns. He said the situation was already problematic because of the massive reduction in hydel power generation due to canal closure.
It had worsened because of the breakdown leaving several areas without electricity.
However, a senior official at the Guddu plant rejected the NTDCL’s claim, stating that the plant had stopped working after the 500kV transmission lines operated and maintained by the NTDCL had tripped.
“All of our machines were working well on Monday morning. But they stopped working after the NTDCL’s 500kV transmission lines had tripped, suspending electricity supply to various parts of the country,” said the plant’s chief executive officer Ayub Ansari while talking to Dawn.
He said the plant’s eight turbines became operational by 10pm.
“Only those who have ever worked at a power plant can understand the situation we went through,” he said, explaining that turbines don’t immediately start working. “The power turbines take time to fully perform,” explained Mr Ansari.
Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2017