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Power breakdown in Sindh Who is at fault?

More than half of Sindh province, including its capital of Karachi plunged into darkness after a technical fault occurred in the national grid cutting off power supply through transmission and distribution systems of K-Electric and Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco) in wee hours of July 28-before the fast of Ramazan. The fault which brought difficulties for the people was not claimed be the fault of either side be it the NTDC or the power companies. However, the chief minister of Sindh claimed he had already expressed his apprehensions about the happening. Besides a major part of Karachi, numerous towns in 13 districts of Sindh remained without electricity from 2.45am till afternoon. The breakdown added miseries of the people because of the harsh weather with rising temperatures. Not only Karachi, Sindhi major cities like Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas and Badin were among the affectees. Hesco said it was a transmission fault which originated in 500kv grid station of the NTDC located in Jamshoro.

The fault that cause tripping hit Jamshoro Thermal Power Plant, Lakhra Coal Power plant, gas-powered Kotri powerhouse, Hubco and Nooriabad's windmill power plant. However, the NTDC told media its preliminary investigations showed that both 500 kV transmission lines from the Hubco power plant did not trip because of a transmission fault, but the tripping occurred due to a transfer trip signal from the Hubco power plant. The NTDC asked the Hubco authorities to investigate the exact cause of tripping from their end. Both Hesco and the NTDC attempted to grab the credit of the restoration of the supply. The former said they managed to energize its system through 132ky power supplies form Rohri at Daulatpur. This helped Hesco energize the Jamshoro power house, then Kotri, Nooriabad and Hubco. Finally, the back-feeding of electricity from Rohri had gradually come to an end and generation resumed from the affected power plants at around 5.15am.

Later, the spokesman was quoted as saying my media, Hesco started energizing its grid stations but the Regional Control Central (RCC)in Jamshoro advised it not to use full 11ky electricity load until the system was fully normalized. As many as 76 grid stations of Hesco remained without power until 10am and the system was normalized at 12noon. Meanwhile, the NTDC said it engineers managed to energize the 220 kV KDA Jamshoro power system and 500 kV Karachi-NKI-Hubco link at 4.30am. Later, Unit 4 of the Hubco power plant was connected with 500 kV NKI grid at 7.40am. It said that power system gradually got normalized after Hubco and Jamshoro got online at 8.05am. Almost 70 per cent of Karachi was affected by the breakdown. The restoration of electricity began after around three hours and at 12.55pm, K-Electric claimed in a Twitter posting that `Karachi has now been fully normalized after the power interruption caused by tripping in the Extra High Tension Jamshoro 500kV line`.

Reacting to the breakdown, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah wrote to federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif same day with its copy to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif saying his apprehensions about collapse of power supply due to fragile and unreliable transmission network came true on the very first day of Ramazan when 13 districts of rural Sindh and half of the Karachi division plunged into darkness causing immense suffering to people of the province. `One of the major effects of sudden power outages in Karachi is complete disruption of the water supply system whose restoration of line pack pressure requires 24 to 36 hours if power supply is restored to all interconnected pumping stations.

This is a very serious situation, especially when ambient day temperatures are as high as 45 degree Celsius in most parts of Sindh and the holy month of Ramazan has just commenced. Reiterating his stance, Murad Ali Shah said `this is a very serious situation, especially when ambient day temperatures are as high as 45 degree Celsius in most parts of Sindh and the holy month of Ramazan has just commenced`. He said the provincial government would be in a precarious situation if lengthy power breakdowns persisted, compromising quality and way of life of urban and rural dwellers and resulting in a law and order situation. The chief minister urged the federal minister to direct the National Transmission and Dispatch Company and Discos to immediately take all possible measures for the restoration of electricity to all affected areas in Sindh and also rectify the faults in the 500kV transmission line.
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Publication:Pakistan Engineering Review
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jun 15, 2017
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