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ISLAMABAD: The country on Monday witnessed another prolonged power breakdown due to wide frequency, voltage and load variation in North-South system that caused system instability leading to total system collapse.

The reasons behind the collapse are being investigated. K-Electric system was also affected.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has taken serious notice of power breakdown in the country and constituted a high-level three-member committee to determine the reasons behind the system collapse and fixation of responsibility for the electricity crisis.

The Prime Minister has also sought a report from the Minister for Power, Khurram Dastgir Khan, saying that public hardships not acceptable.

Thousands of mobile phone towers go offline in Pakistan after power outage

According to the Power Division, power generation in South Punjab is temporarily shut down in winters as a policy to save fuel. However, when power units were restarted and switched on the system around 7.34am on Monday morning the system started collapsing between Dadu and Jamshoro, and generating units began shutting down one by one due to cascading impact.

Later on, the Power Division claimed that power restoration has started from Tarbela and Warsak and supply of important grids in Islamabad have been restored. However, the supply was suspended after a few minutes due to issues in maintaining required frequency.

The Authority has taken serious notice of the countrywide power breakdown and directed the NTDC to submit a detailed report in this regard.

The power Regulator previously imposed fines on similar trippings, partial/full blackout(s), system collapse(s), tower collapse(s) in the 2021 & 2022 and has consistently issued directives and recommendations on mitigating such events in future.

Minister for Power, Khurram Dastgir Khan, tweeted: “Mon 7:34am, large voltage swing in south cascaded northwards to cause breakdown, we are restoring electricity from north to south, electricity is restored partially in distribution companies Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta, Multan, & Sukkur. KE is reporting very limited restoration.

In the afternoon, Minister for Power, Khurram Dastgir reached the National Power Control Centre (NPCC), the System Operator to monitor nationwide power breakdown restoration from NPCC’s control room.

The officials of NTDC briefed the Minister that Guddu power line tripped due to variation in power frequency, cascading effect of which caused tripping.

The Minister was informed that due to high demand and lack of supply in the power grid, there are difficulties in restoration work. However, efforts continued to restore power by disconnecting the North-South connection.

KE spokesperson, Imran Rana, tweeted, “there are reports of multiple outages from different parts of the city. We are investigating the issue and will keep this space posted.”

In the afternoon, the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) approved release of water from Mangla reservoir to restore the system as presently there is no discharge due to annual canal closure.

Talking on national television Khurram Dastgir Khan identified the events that led to power breakdown maintaining that the country’s transmission system is safe and efforts are being made to restore the system.

He said a plant at Uch is already producing electricity which is being partially supplied to some parts of Balochistan and Southern Punjab whereas Thar electricity supply has started to Karachi at a limited level.

He said there were issues in restoration of generation from hydel projects which are being overpowered, adding that National Power Control System (NPCC) has been empowered to operate any plant whether it is expensive or cheap to restore electricity supply as restarting of power plants requires electricity.

“We are making focused efforts with determination and hard work to restore electricity as early as possible,” he added.

As per the updated reports. During restoration, the North region of NTDC (Islamabad-Lahore-Multan) collapsed for 5-6 times due to continued oscillations in transmission network of NTDC. Therefore, the exact restoration timeline and origin of the fault are yet to be determined/located by NTDC/NPCC.

However as per NTDC, some areas of SEPCO-QESCO, HESCO, MEPCO and PESCO have been restored to some extent starting from 11 am and onwards by running UCH and other power plants having black start unit facilities on Island mode. As of now NPCC/NTDC is purely focusing on system restoration in IESCO, LESCO, GEPCO, MEPCO, FESCO & HESCO.

Whereas, KE started retrieving its system from 8:30 and onwards by running Tapal, Gul Ahmad & Bin Qasim on Island mode. Now 230 MWs are being supplied by KE on its own and its 25 Grids have been energized out of 69 220kV & 132kV Grids as of 05:30 pm.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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