KARACHI/HYDERABAD: Life in Karachi and other parts of Sindh came to a grinding halt on Monday due to a nationwide power breakdown that like in other parts of the country piled miseries on people as the electricity could not be restored in most areas till late in the night.

In Karachi, the worst-hit were office-going people and students who faced a great deal of inconvenience to get ready in the absence of the electricity. In many areas, the power shutdown also led to acute water crisis.

Business and commercial activities were also badly affected due to the massive breakdown and most of the markets and shopping centres were shut down much ahead of their scheduled closing timings.

In some areas, the power supply was restored but only for a few minutes raising questions on the transmission and distribution system of the K-Electric (KE), the city’s lone power utility.

The KE, that gets 1,000MW from the national grid, claims to generate 500 to 600MW daily from its power generation plants. However, the power utility failed to transmit and distribute the electricity it generated.

KE says complete restoration may take time; power supply partially resumes in Hesco, Sepco regions

The power disruption also adversely affected the internet services and online banking, leading to commercial losses to the business and traders’ community.

People from different localities of the city called Dawn offices to tell that the power supply was not restored in their areas till 11pm.

However, the power supply to the sensitive installations and hospitals was restored afterwards also benefitting the adjoining areas that were supplied electricity from the same grid.

KE version

The KE said that a fault in the national grid caused a sudden drop in the system frequency at approximately 7:34am which caused a cascading outage widespread across the country, affecting power supply to multiple cities, including Karachi.

A statement issued by the power utility said: “Fortunately, our system’s protective mechanisms were able to prevent any damage to our infrastructure.”

It said the KE teams were active and directly supervising the restoration efforts across Karachi, adding that they were also in contact with the relevant authorities to re-establish the link between Karachi and the national grid, which would quicken the restoration of power supply to the affected areas.

The statement said the KE was proceeding at a cautious pace, prioritising the stability of the network frequency. “Strategic installations such as airport, Karachi Port, and hospitals are being restored first,” it said, adding that partial restoration of some areas had been achieved.

“It is expected that the power supply to majority residential and commercial areas of the city may be restored over the next three to four hours. However, complete restoration to the city and particularly industrial consumers is dependent on the provision of reliable supply from the national grid, which may take a few more hours,” it added.

Partial restoration begins in Sindh cities, towns

In Hyderabad, complete power supply to 13 districts falling within the territorial jurisdiction of the Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco) could not be restored till late in the night.

Hesco spokesman Sadiq Kubar said if feeders were energised in company’s areas it would burden the system even before it was normalised.

The 13 districts are Tando Mohammad Khan, Tando Allahyar, Mirpurkhas, Umerkot, Shaheed Benazirabad, Sanghar, Jamshoro, Hyderabad, Tharparkar, Thatta, Sujawal, Badin and Matiari.

The Hesco spokesman said power supply was partially restored in some areas.

The massive power breakdown affected water supply from filtration plants as well as sewerage facilities of the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa).

In Sukkur, electricity in areas of the Sukkur Electric Power Supply Company (Sepco) was restored after authorities energised around 134 feeders through their alternate system.

An official told Dawn that supply to Sukkur was restored through the Uch power plant in Dera Murad Jamali, which energised 220kv grid station in Shikarpur and subsequently restored power supply to Rohri’s 220kv grid station. Later, parts of Sukkur, Gambat, Moro and Dadu were energised through the 132 KV system.

Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2023

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