- 28 districts of Qesco, 13 districts of Hesco and 127 grid stations of Mepco
- Inquiry committee formed to ascertain facts behind power breakdown
ISLAMABAD/KARACHI: After a 12-hour-long breakdown caused by what is being described as “accidental fault” across the country, electricity was “fully restored” although the ministry says the power supply situation will return to normalcy by Friday morning.
The power breakdown took place on Thursday — amounting to 8,000 megawatts, according to the energy minister — which deprived large swathes of the country, including provincial capitals – Karachi and Lahore, of electricity.
The ministry said the disturbance in two 500kv lines in the south of Karachi was resolved. “Electricity supply is being increased from alternative power plants, which will return to normal by Friday morning,” the ministry tweeted.
Earlier, the Ministry of Energy had attributed the breakdown to an “accidental fault” in the transmission system.
“Several power plants in the south are tripping in phases due to an accidental fault in the country’s southern transmission system. As a result, there have been disruptions in the supply of electricity to the country’s south,” the ministry said in a tweet following reports of power outages.
THERE WAS A FAULT IN THEM AND THEY FELL
Later, Energy Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan, in a press conference expressed his hope that electricity would be fully restored “to normalcy” by tonight, and announced that power had begun returning to parts of southern Punjab.
He shared the preliminary findings of the circumstances that led to the breakdown. “This morning at 9:16am, our two 500kv lines in the south — Karachi — there was a fault in both of them. I am not calling it an accident yet, because an inquiry has yet to be conducted. There was a fault in them and they fell, as a result the country’s southern region saw an electricity blackout.
“Our first priority was to isolate Karachi from it, and we were successful in doing so and we isolated Karachi from it by 9:45. By isolate, I mean that the 1,000MW that we provide to Karachi daily, was cut. But KE’s system is independently operational and is supplying electricity to [parts of] the city.”
He said as a result of the two power lines in which the fault developed, parts of Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur and Quetta, and partially in Multan and Faisalabad experienced power breakdowns.
Dastgir added that he was personally monitoring the progress of the restoration.
“As a result of this breakdown, a large part of our power plants are out of our system, around 8,000MW, of which we have restored 4,700MW,” he said.
“Electricity has been completely restored in Multan and Faisalabad. There is an issue in Hyderabad, but we have restored Sepco partially till Dadu. There is also [power] connectivity in Shikarpur, and because of partial connections in Sukkur. Qesco has been restored till Sibi.”
The minister said three teams were in the field: one was the reconnection team dealing with the cut-off conductors, the second team was for repairs, wherever needed, and the third team, was the inquiry team, which would submit a report to the ministry of energy in four days identifying the cause of the incident.
“Our biggest success is that we prevented a breakdown in the north. We limited the shutdown to the south through timely reconnection … the north was completely saved from the shutdown.
“We are trying to completely restore the system between maghrib and isha,” he said.
“It is taking time. The power plants that were shut down will take hours to restart. These include coal plants, Thar coal plants and nuclear plants in Karachi, wherever there has been tripping, plants are being restarted according to their technical specifications.
“We expect that those plants will start production in the next few hours, and as I said, we will completely restore the system between 7-8pm. Our priorities at present are [the restoration of power in] Karachi and Quetta and then Hyderabad too.”
He said the tripping developed near Karachi and moved northward. “There are two lines in Karachi’s south — NK1 and Jamshoro — there was a fault in them simultaneously.
He, however, insisted that there was no fault in the system in Karachi, only the transmission of 1,000MW from the national grid had been cut off. “When the plants will be restarted, 1,000MW supply will be restored [to the city].”
The minister hinted that human error could be responsible for the fault, though he wouldn’t confirm it until the inquiry team’s report arrives. “When the inquiry team’s report is received, if we have to take disciplinary action in its light, we will,” he added.
“We have to find the actual cause, whether it was an accident or there was another reason.”
SHC ISSUES ARREST WARRANT FOR KE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
The KE officials appeared before the Sindh High Court (SHC) after the court issued the arrest warrant for the distributor company’s chief executive officer (CEO).
The officials informed the court that the KE wasn’t responsible for the power outage.
“The entire country’s power system is down,” they said.
Earlier, SHC Justice Salahuddin Panhwar issued the arrest warrants for the KE CEO, directing the officials to implement the arrest orders within an hour. He expressed annoyance over the suspension of the power supply since 9:30am, as city courts and the accountability courts within Karachi were also left without power following the breakdown.
He asked how the court could hold proceedings with no electricity.
K-Electric spokesperson Imran Rana has confirmed that multiple areas of Karachi were out of electricity.
He said that the process for restoration of the power supply has started. However, he said that complete restoration may take up to five hours.
“There are reports of multiple outages from different parts of the city. We are investigating the issue and will keep this space posted,” he wrote in the initial tweet after the power breakdown.
The tweet was also retweeted by the utility provider.
The Sindh High Court, city and accountability courts located in Karachi were left without power following the breakdown.
Other districts of Sindh that were without power were Hyderabad, Thatta, Jamshoro, Sujawal, Badin, Tando Muhammad Khan, Tando Allah Yar; Mirpurkhas, Umarkot, Sanghar, Nawabshah, Matiari, Tharparkar, Larkana.
28 DISTRICTS OF BALOCHISTAN AFFECTED
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Quetta Electric Supply Company (QESCO) stated that at least 28 districts of Balochistan were left without power due to the fault. He added at least three electricity units providing 220 kvs of power were affected due to the fault.
On the other hand, the Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO), Faisalabad, Multan and South Punjab were affected by the power breakdown.
The spokesperson shared that the fault had caused temporary pressure on the LESCO system. He added that a fault in the NTDC grid had shut down two grids and 20 feeders, clarifying that they have restored them via load management.
127 GRID STATIONS AFFECTED DUE TO TECHNICAL FAULT IN NTDC SYSTEM, ELECTRICITY FULLY RESTORED
General Manager Operations MEPCO Engineer Nasir Ayaz Gurmani said that power supply from 127 grid stations across the region was affected due to technical fault in NTDC system.
He said the GSO wing teams were alerted to restore power supply from the affected grid stations. He also reviewed the power restoration activities at the power distribution MEPCO headquarters and monitored the power supply to the grid stations after the addition of power to MEPCO’s system from NTDC.
He said that administrative officers and staff were working in the Power Control Center to supervise the power restoration works in the affected areas.
However, the electricity supply was fully restored from the grid stations affected due to breakdown at five o’clock in the afternoon, he maintained.
POWER SUPPLY RESTORED TO 13 HESCO DISTRICTS
The electric supply to all the 13 districts powered by Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (HESCO) which was suspended on Thursday morning began to restore in the afternoon, according to the company’s spokesman Sadiq Kubar.
However, many parts of Hyderabad remained without electricity till the filing of this report because HESCO staggered the restoration of the electric supply.
The spokesman told that the supply was restored from the national grid almost 6 hours after the suspension which started at 9:32 am.
He said the HESCO’s CEO Muhammad Khan Sohu had directed the officers to ensure that the safety rules were followed in the restoration of the power supply.
According to the spokesman, a low frequency problem in the national grid cut off the electric supply to HESCO and 3 other companies.
INQUIRY COMMITTEE FORMED TO ASCERTAIN FACTS BEHIND POWER BREAK DOWN
On the directions of Power Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan, National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) has constituted a four-member committee to probe the reasons behind power blackout that engulfed the south region and certain areas of north region of NTDC’s transmission system on Thursday.
According to NTDC’s office order, Muhammad Mustafa, General Manger (Technical) Lahore will be convener of this inquiry committee while Anwar Ahmed Khan, General Manager (AM) North Lahore, Muhammad Ijaz Khan, Chief Engineer (TSG) North Lahore and Muhammad Zakaria, Chief Engineer (OP) NPCC Islamabad will work as member of this inquiry committee. And, the committee is required to submit its report within four days.
As per Terms of References (ToRs) of the committee, this committee will determine root cause of the fault and ascertain if the fault(s) leading to the partial blackout/collapse could have been contained. Similarly, the committee will verify whether the measures (technical & timewise) taken by the concerned departments for protection of the system were adequate while the committee will also review the previous inquiry reports into similar blackout incidents and ascertain whether the recommendations of those reports were adopted and implemented by the concerned departments or otherwise?
Likewise, the committee will fix the responsibility on the person(s) involved in case any negligence is observed while it will also recommend remedial measures to be taken in order to avoid recurrence of similar events in future. Moreover, the committee will inquire into any other issue related to the incident, not otherwise mentioned in the Terms of References (ToRs), that the committee deems necessary to arrive at a concrete conclusion, said Office order of NTDC dated 13th October, 2022.