New Delhi: In one of the worst ever nightmares for urban India, 300 million people of North India, were affected by a massive power failure which lingered for over 15 hours.
Power supply was restored in a phase-by-phase manner across North Indian sates that had plunged into darkness early on Monday. By Monday evening the electric supply was completely restored.
"The Northern Grid was brought back to normalcy to meet the required demand of about 30,000 MW at 19.00 hours," Power Grid said in a statement.
An NTPC official said all the affected plants have resumed operations and are now connected to the grid.
The northern transmission grid collapsed at 2.35 AM, plunging Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chandigarh into darkness.
NTPC's six plants -- Singrauli (2,000 MW), Rihand (2,500 MW), Dadri (1,820 MW), Auriya (652 MW), Anta (413 MW) and Badarpur (705 MW) -- stopped generating following the failure.
Railways and Delhi Metro came to halt for a few hours in the morning, as power supply was disrupted. While 300 trains were delayed, Metro commuters in the National Capital had a harrowing time.
The trains affected include Amritsar Delhi Shatabdi Express, Allahabad Chandigarh Unchahaar, Lucknow Chandigarh Sadbhavna, Howraha Kalka Mail, Delhi Jammu Mail and a number of other super fast, express, passenger and local trains.
In Delhi, IGI Airport functioned normally through the crisis as the entire system had shifted to the backup generators. Delhi Metro was initially hit but now services have returned to normal. DTC bus services were also hit as CNG stations were shut due to lack of power.
Water supplies in major cities of North India were also hit.
This is reportedly the worst northern grid failure since January 2001.
After taking stock of the situation, Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said the normal load on the grid has to be maintained between 48.5 to 50.2 Hertz, however, yesterday night the load increased to 50.46 Hz, lead to grid collapse.
Shinde revealed preliminary investigations suggest that trouble occurred in the grid near Agra, which had a cascading effect on the entire grid, leading to tripping of major thermal power plants and hydroelectric stations across the region.
Refusing to single out what led to grid failure, the Power Minister said a three-member committee has been appointed to find the exact reason behind the failure. "The panel will submit its report in the next 15 days," he said.
Expressing full faith in the capability of Indian engineers, Shinde said that India’s grid is one of the best maintained in the world. To stress the point, he pointed out that the United States of America had needed four days to restore a grid failure in 2008 and that too with the help of Indian engineers.
The Northern Grid, one of the largest in the country, covers nine states -- Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, J&K and Chandigarh.
Meanwhile, Delhi Power Minister Harun Yusuf blamed UP, Haryana and Punjab for over drawing power from the grid and causing it to trip.
"The grid collapsed due to overdrawal of power by Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab," Yusuf said.
Power System Operation Corporation Ltd (POSOCO), part of state-run Power Grid, manages the transmission grids in the country.
Country's largest power producer NTPC's six plants, having a total capacity of over 8,000 MW, were hit by the collapse.
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.
With PTI inputs
First Published: Monday, July 30, 2012, 08:38