Power crisis hits Punjab amid dense fog

Updated January 04, 2019

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LAHORE: Commuters drive their vehicles on a road amid heavy smog on Thursday. Smog levels often spike during winter in Punjab, making driving difficult and even dangerous. But on Wednesday and Thursday the weather conditions caused several feeders in the provincial capital to trip, cutting electricity supply to many areas.—AFP
LAHORE: Commuters drive their vehicles on a road amid heavy smog on Thursday. Smog levels often spike during winter in Punjab, making driving difficult and even dangerous. But on Wednesday and Thursday the weather conditions caused several feeders in the provincial capital to trip, cutting electricity supply to many areas.—AFP

LAHORE: Consumers in many urban and rural areas of Punjab faced a terrible situation for a second consecutive day on Thursday after different power plants, transmission lines and grid stations tripped again either due to dense fog or technical fault, forcing major power distribution companies (Discos) to resort to shutdowns and load management for several hours.

As the tripped plants could not be made operational till 7:30pm on Thursday, a team of the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) took over maintenance control of the Guddu-747 plant that has stopped working because of damage to some equipment installed in its switch yard. “Our team finally took over the plant and started working to rectify the fault amid replacement of the damaged equipment. The fault occurred in the switch yard of this plant in the morning, leading to suspension of power generation and tripping of the 500kV transmission lines connected with this plant,” an NTDC spokesman told Dawn.

The plants that tripped owing to fog included 1,200MW Balloki (Kasur), 124MW KEL, 195MW Nishat Chunian, 185MW Nishat Power, 125MW Saif Power and 200MW Orient Power. The urban and rural areas affected due to power breakdown included Lah­ore, Kasur, Sheikhupura, Nan­k­ana and Okara of the Lahore Electric Supply Company, Fai­salabad, Toba Tek Singh, Chiniot and Jhang of the Faisal­abad Electric Supply Company and Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Bahawalpur, Khanewal, Lodhran, Rahimyar Khan, Sahiwal, Vehari, Pakpattan, Muzaffargarh, Lay­yah, Rajanpur, Alipur, Taunsa, Khanpur, Sadiqabad, Mian Channu and Chichawatni of the Multan Electric Power Company.

Some areas falling under service jurisdiction of the Gujaranwala Electric Power Company and the Islamabad Electric Supply Company also faced power distribution issues due to breakdown.

Since power generation by various plants went out of the system and there was already zero generation by 1,200MW Havaili Bahadur Shah (Jhang) and 1,200MW Bhikki plant (Sheikhupura) due to suspension of re-gasified liquefied natural gas supply, the Discos’ power allocation quota considerably squeezed. “We have no option but to observe load management in the prevailing situation as there is no supply according to our demand,” said a spokesperson for Lesco. He said the situation would start improving once power supply to the company was ensured according to its demand.

Meanwhile, the NTDC management said the badly affected power system by dense fog was being normalised gradually. “NTDC engineers and staff managed to restore 500kV Sahiwal-Lahore, 500kV New Lahore-Balloki, 500kV Guddu old, 747MW Guddu, 500kV Rahimyar Khan, 220kV Yousafwala-Kasso­wal, 220kV Bahwalpur-Lal Soha­nra, and 220kV Okara-Sarfraz­nagar transmission lines,” the NTDC spokesman claimed in a press release.

Published in Dawn, January 4th, 2019