New Delhi: North India on Monday witnessed its worst blackout in a decade, with millions waking up to no electricity.
While the power supply was restored by evening, the question bogging everyone’s mind is - what led to such a massive power failure?
Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has appointed a panel to probe the causes of the blackout and the report is likely to be submitted within 15 days, but the reasons are amply clear.
As per officials and a report of the National Load Dispatch Center (NLDC), some North Indian states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab drawing more power from Northern Grid than authorised is the main cause behind the kind of grid failure witnessed yesterday.
Very recently in May this year, the Central Electricity Regulatory Authority (CERC) had issued notices to the state load dispatch centres (SLDCs) of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana asking them to halt overdrawing power from the Northern Grid.
While the CERC had asked these SLDCs to be prepared to buy additional power to meet the anticipated demand during summer/monsoon, the states failed to take notice and did not maintain the grid discipline.
As per official data, Uttar Pradesh last month drew 3,762 MU (million units of power) as against its allotted share of 3,011 MU. The per-day overdrawal average was 25 MU. Haryana withdrew 2,064 MU as against its scheduled limit of 1,817 MU. Rajasthan’s actual drawing from the grid was 1,505 MU as against its schedule of 1,407 MU.
The report for July is scheduled to be out soon and will make the picture clear.
Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab faced severe power crisis this summer due to unavailability of fuel for their power plants. The peak time power deficit in these states was recorded at 16.3%, 9.7% and 11.5% respectively.
A poor monsoon too has added to the power woes in North Indian states.
In the wake of yesterday’s grid failure, a number of officials, including IAS, have been transferred.
On Monday, the power failure hit rail, Metro and road-traffic operations, as well as services at hospitals and civic bodies.
Seven states in the northern region saw power trip off at 2.32 am on Monday due to a major breakdown in the Northern Grid - an interconnected transmission network that delivers electricity from various power generating stations to distribution utilities.
The last time such a crisis took place was in 2001, when it took 16 hours to restore normalcy.
Apart from the national capital Delhi, supplies were badly affected in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir.
The power failure also hit water supply with water treatment plants unable to operate.
By evening, the electricity supply was "almost fully restored", officials said.
The power trip had occurred near Agra, the city of the Taj Majal, but officials were unable to say what caused the massive breakdown.
The power trip left many trains stranded in North India and saw thousands of early morning passengers of the Delhi Metro, including college and school students, crowd stations waiting for train services to start.
Power to the Railways and Delhi Metro was restored by 9 am.
(With DNA/IANS inputs)