(Indian Express) The country faced a major power crisis for the second consecutive day today as three grids serving Northern, Eastern and North-Eastern regions failed this afternoon, leading to 200 coal miners getting trapped in West Bengal and throwing normal life out of gear in 22 states.
As the grids collapsed around 1 PM, miners in Eastern Coalfields got trapped in Sodepur and Satgram in Burdwan districts of West Bengal, according to officials who said rescue efforts are on.
In Delhi, Metro commuters were trapped inside the tunnels for sometime as trains came to a halt as electricity supplies got snapped.
The Centre blamed overdrawal by states in the Eastern region for today’s grid collapse. Power Grid Corp promised normalcy would be restored by 7 PM.
The states affected included Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, West Bengal, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Odisha, Bihar, Rajasthan and Assam and Union Territory of Chandigarh, covering more than half of the population.
In Kolkata, Metro Rail services were unaffected, according to state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The state government declared holiday in its offices after 3 PM.
The Railways network across major parts of the country was among the worst hit services, as trains, other than those running on diesel engine, stopped midway.
Assam witnessed large-scale power cuts throughout the state. In Orissa also, train services were hit.
The Northern Grid, which collapsed yesterday and was restored after 15 hours, again tripped today. The Eastern and North-Eastern transmission lines too failed this afternoon, worsening the power situation in the country when it is facing drought-like situation in most parts.
“Some sections are creating problems by overdrawing power,” Power Grid CMD R N Nayak said.
This is probably the first time that three grids have collapsed simultaneously,
When asked about the reasons for the failure of grids, Shinde said some states are drawing electricity over and above their limits. “This was creating problems,” the minister said.
“This morning only, I was told (by officials) that about 3,000 MW extra power has been over drawn from the Eastern Grid. We have given the direction to either stop it (over drawal) or take action against them,” he added.
“Grid incident occurred at 13:00 hours affecting the Northern Grid, Eastern Grid and North Eastern Grid,” National Load Despatch Centre (NLDC) said. The authorities began to restore power for essential services on a priority basis at around 1500 hours in the National Capital and other states.
India has five electricity grids — Northern, Eastern, North Eastern, Southern and Western. All of them are inter-connected, except the Southern grid.
All the grids are being run by the state-owned Power Grid Corporation, which operates more than 95,000 circuit km of transmission lines.
One circuit km refers to one kilometre of electrical transmission line.
The authorities began restoring power to essential services at around 1500 hours, pursuant to which many services including Delhi Metro resumed operations. Services at airports and hospitals remained largely unaffected due to backup electricity available with them.
Nearly 300 trains came to a grinding halt at various places due to the grids’ failure, including on the busy Delhi-Howrah route. The Metro services in Kolkata were also affected, while the West Bengal government asked the employees to leave early for home in the wake of power crisis.
Narendra Modi takes potshots at ‘powerless’ Centre
Ahmedabad, Jul 31 (PTI) Massive power failure in Northern and Eastern India over the last two days has given ammunition to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to attack the Congress-led UPA Government at the Centre today.
The BJP stalwart today took potshots at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the blackout which affected half of India.
“With poor economic management, UPA has emptied pockets of common man, kept stomachs hungry with inflation & today pushed them into darkness!,” Modi wrote on twitter.
“Pradhan Mantri ji, 60 crore people & 19 states are in darkness. Country wants to know is there any coalition dharma you are following here too?,” he tweeted, apparently making a reference to the Prime Minister often citing “coalition constraints” for slow decision-making process.
The Northern and Eastern Grids tripped today, leading to power failure in several states, affecting normal life there.
Power supply was disrupted in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, West Bengal, Assam and Punjab, among other states.
Normal power situation in most cities by 7 pm: Power Grid
New Delhi: Power supply will be restored by 7 PM in most of the major cities hit by grid failure, Power Grid Corp chief R N Nayak said today.
In most of the major cities and towns electricity would be restored by 7-7:30 PM, Nayak told reporters giving an update on power situation.
State-run Power Grid Corporation of India, which controls the country’s transmission network, said that situation across the country is expected to be normal by midnight.
“We are trying to restore (power to normalcy) all over the country by midnight,” Nayak said.
Pushing more than half of the country’s population into power crisis, three major transmission grids – Northern, Eastern and North Eastern — collapsed by 1300 hrs.
At present, the Northern Grid is getting power from Gwalior and Agra substations as well as from three hydel projects — Tehri and Vishnu Prayag in Uttarakhand and Nathpa Jhakri plant in Himachal Pradesh, he said.
According to Nayak, about 9,000 to 10,000 MW have been restored so far across all the three regions, where is demand is around 55,000 MW.
When asked about the possible reasons for the grids’ failures, Nayak said, “Some sections might have caused tripping but it is difficult to give you anything at this time. We are trying to fix the problem”.
Except for few areas in Kolkata and Delhi, and Narora (Uttar Pradesh), the entire regions were affected, he said.
At the time of failure, Northern Grid’s demand was about 32,400 MW, Eastern Grid (12,000 MW) and North Eastern Grid (1,100 MW), respectively.
Currently, Nayak pointed out that 17 to 20 per cent power has been restored in the Northern Grid while it is around 20 per cent in the Eastern Grid. About 50 per cent has been restored in the North Eastern Grid.
Grid collapse hits eastern region
Kolkata: The eastern and northeastern regional grids collapsed today resulting in an unprecedented situation with power snapped in the states of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Assam and Sikkim.
The grid failure severely affected train services in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Assam inconveniencing lakhs of suburban and long-distance passengers.
The West Bengal government declared a holiday in its offices after 3:00 PM to enable employees to return home early, especially those who commute by train.
Metro Rail services in Kolkata and the N S C Bose International Airport were, however, normal.
Around 200 miners were stuck in four underground mines of ECL in Burdwan district, but were being evacuated with restoration of power, ECL sources said.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said it might take 10 to 12 hours for restoration of normal power supply and that transport arrangements were being made for people to return home by bus and lorry.
“The eastern grid collapsed at 1:00 PM. It is a catastrophic power disaster. There is no power in any district in the state,” Power Minister Manish Gupta said.
On the reason for the failure, the minister said, “Such a catastrophe can happen in case of excess drawal of power illegally from the grid by a state.”
He said the Central government should ensure that states maintained discipline.
“We are restarting generation at the state-owned Bandel and Kolaghat power plants,” he said, adding it will take some more time to restart power in other plants.
In Bihar, state capital Patna went totally without power and work was paralysed at the secretariat. Officials worked using lamps and emergency set ups.
East Central Railway (ECR) Chief Public Relations Officer Amitabh Prabhakar said that more than 30 trains, including 18 mail and express and over 48 goods trains were stranded at various places since 1:00 PM.
In Odisha, power at the state secretariat and buildings housing important government offices was restored within an hour, a senior official said.
Train services in the state were hit barring western areas like Sambalpur, Rourkela, Jharsuguda, Bargarh and Bolangir, where there was no disruption in power supply, official sources said.
In Assam, State Load Despatch Centre (ASLDC) Executive Engineer Ashok Saikia told PTI, “All of a sudden, there was heavy load and power frequency came down from the normal 49.9 per cent to 38.34 per cent leading to the collapse of the grid.”
The collapse led to large-scale power cuts throughout the state, but the situation was likely to improve with additional power inputs from Samaguri, Kathalguri and Namrup Thermal Power Plants which were unaffected by the grid failure, he said.
“We have already restored power in some areas of Guwahati and in the state by offloading power in certain areas,” Saikia said.
In Jharkhand, DVC’s Chief Engineer (Chandrapura unit) R Basuri said several units were hit following failure of North-East Grid section, resulting in power breakdown in many parts of the state.
Grid failure: West Bengal govt declares holiday
Kolkata: The West Bengal government today declared a holiday in its offices after 3:00 PM following the grid failure to enable employees to return home early, especially those who commute by train.
“We have taken a decision to declare a holiday in state government offices after 3:00 PM so that the employees can return home early in the absence of trains which are not running due to power failure,” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told reporters at Writers’ Buildings.
She said private offices were also requested to declare a holiday similarly in the interest of employees.
Stating that it might take 10 to 12 hours for restoration of normal power supply, she asked TV channels not to create panic over the issue.
Banerjee said she held an emergency meeting and spoke to the Railways to restart normal services within two to three hours and to see if trains could be run with diesel engines in the suburban sections.
The chief minister said Metro Rail services in Kolkata were unaffected.
Transport arrangements were being arranged for people by bus and lorry, she said.
Banerjee said the state government was not responsible for the power failure and that it was the fallout of the power outage in the northern grid.
“The crisis started from northern India with the failure of the mother grid and after the trippings there, a complex situation developed which impacted the eastern grid affecting all parts of the state, besides Bihar and Orissa,” she said.
She said that a monitoring committee was formed led by private power utility, CESC limited.