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Pakistan

Human error caused countrywide blackout on Jan 9, reveals inquiry committee report

  • Report states that the fault occurred as some officials did not follow SOPs during maintenance work
  • Last month, country plunged into darkness after the National Transmission and Despatch Company power system encountered a major breakdown due to the tripping of the Guddu Thermal Power Plant
23 Feb 2021

(Karachi) An inquiry committee, tasked to investigate countrywide blackout on January 9, has held officials of Guddu Thermal Power Plant responsible, local media reported on Tuesday.

As per details, the Power Division informed a parliamentary panel about the findings. Secretary Power Ali Raza Bhutta briefed the members of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Energy.

Bhutta said, “The problem occurred due to a human error at the Guddu power station. The error led to the tripping of the entire power system. The fault occurred as some officials did not follow SOPs during maintenance work.”

“Due to a mistake, the Guddu Thermal Power Plant tripped and there was a complete blackout. At the time of the blackout, the power consumption in the country stood at 10,000 megawatts,” he added.

Last month, country plunged into darkness after the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) power system encountered a major breakdown due to the tripping of the Guddu Thermal Power Plant at around midnight.

The blackout also partially disrupted the telecommunication system in the country and people from different cities and towns reported a massive drop in mobile phone signals. Initial reports had suggested that Guddu Thermal Power Plant’s power system developed a technical fault.

Soon after the blackout, Federal Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan posted a twitter message, saying: "Tripping of high transmission line nationwide has brought down the system frequency from 50 to zero in less than one second. The drop in infrequency caused tripping of power stations nationwide."

Later, the NTDC constituted a four-member committee to probe into the reasons and facts leading to collapse of the power system and determine the responsibility. The committee was also to suggest measures to prevent occurrence of such incidents in future in 7 days.

In view of a preliminary inquiry, the Central Power Generation Company had also suspended seven of its employees working under Plant Manager-III for alleged negligence.