LAHORE: Almost half of the city plunged into darkness after the 220kV Sabzazar / Bund Road grid station caught fire causing a major breakdown that lasted for several hours starting from Sunday night to Monday early morning.

A huge population of the city spent the entire night in hot weather without electricity.

“Our power supply suddenly suspended at about 11pm on Sunday. First we thought, it could be for a short time. But when it prolonged, we started trying to contact the respective Lesco office, but no one picked the phone,” Arsalan, a resident of Multan Road, near a foam factory, told Dawn.

“Later we came to know that a grid station caught fire that burnt a transformer besides damaging the switchyard, leading to tripping of many grid stations being fed from the affected grid,” he explained. “Since no one either bothered to pick our calls or make the grid stations operational, it left us with no option but to spent the night without light,” he deplored.

Lesco manages to restore electricity in six hours

Ashfaq, a resident of Model Town (Extension), also narrated a similar story, criticising the authorities concerned for not maintaining the power transmission and distribution infrastructure. “They (the officers) are just getting salaries besides minting money, as they seem to have no time to make the system fit for summer,” he said.

The localities that remained without light for several hours included residential / commercial areas along Multan Road, Johar Town and adjacent localities, Raiwind Road and some nearby areas, OPF housing scheme and adjoining parts, Model Town (Extension), Canal Road, Wahdat Road, Sabzazar, Marghazar colony, Scheme Morr, Iqbal Town, Gulshan-i-Ravi, Wapda Town, Khayaban-i-Jinnah and Khayaban-i-Firdausi, Allah Hoo Chowk, Township etc.

As many as 16 grid stations of 132kV capacity owned and operated by the Lahore Electric Supply Company faced tripping due to fire incident at 220kV Sabazazar / Bund Road grid station owned and operated by the National Transmission & Despatch Company (NTDC).

“The fire erupted at the NTDC’s 220kV Bund road grid station. It was extinguished at 1:47am (Monday),” a spokesman for the NTDC said in a statement. The fire partially damaged the transformer and some other equipment, he said, claiming that the teams not only put off the fire but also ensured resumption of the station’s operation within a short time.

According to a Lesco spokesman, the eruption of fire led to a blast at the 220kV grid station that not only suspended electricity supply at this station but also resulted in suspension at 16 132kV grid station of Lesco.

“All grid stations were made operational at 5am (morning) on Sunday,” he claimed.

He said the fire brigade and rescue 1122 teams jointly carried out operation to extinguish the fire.

On the other hand, a source said the severe hot weather has increased electricity demand due to increasing operation of air-conditioners in Lahore. “This has overloaded the system that finally caused eruption of fire at Sabzazar grid station,” he maintained. He said the Lesco demand on Sunday evening surged to nearly 3,900MW on Monday whereas the supply was about 3600MW, making a shortfall of 300MW.

“Due to the shortfall, the Lesco has started observing load shedding in the areas falling within service jurisdiction of high-loss 11kV feeders,” he said.

Published in Dawn, May 21st, 2024

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