New Delhi: Even before north India could recover from the horror of yesterday’s crippling power failure, three transmission grids -- Northern, Eastern and North-eastern -- collapsed on Tuesday leaving the lives of over 60 crore people in 21 states paralysed.
The states affected included Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, J&K, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Sikkim and Assam. Besides 21 states, Union Territory of Chandigarh was also affected.
Like yesterday, this time too, the grid collapse began from Taj city Agra. With grid discipline going haywire, all power plants in north India automatically shutdown, things went out of hand after the grid failure in north led to a cascading effect on the power plants in eastern and north-eastern regions.
"Grid incident occurred at 1 pm affecting the northern, eastern and north-eastern grid. System is under restoration," said the official website of the Eastern Grid. These three grids carry about 50,000 MW of electricity.
Today, the worst sufferers were 265 miners who got trapped in coal mines in West Bengal and Jharkhand due to power outage. They were evacuated after hours of agony.
Power supply to the Indian rail network was also hit which lead to over 300 trains coming to a standstill.
In the national capital, the power collapse triggered disruption in Metro and train services, crippled water supply and choked roads due to non-functional traffic lights.
In the east too, Kolkata and other big cities were badly hit after the eastern power gripped tripped.
Odisha has more or less returned to normalcy with the state drawing power from the Southern grid.
In its latest update, the Power Grid said, the North-Eastern has been completely restored. While electricity has been fully restored in Delhi, 70 per cent normalcy has been achieved in the northern region so far.
Meanwhile, Power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde appealed to the states for not to overdraw more electricity than their quota. He also issued a warning to them saying, “The states which indulge overdraw more electricity will be penalised.”
The Punjab government, however, denied the state's overdrawal charges. It said the state's overdrawal was a meagre 1.2 per cent of its sanctioned load when the grid collapsed, while Haryana's overdrawal was a whopping 22.4 per cent and that of Uttar Pradesh was 6.4 per cent.
The UP government said taking into consideration the parameters at the time of grid failure there was no reason to believe power operations by the state triggered the grid collapse.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said the Centre should evolve a system to ensure that no state received more than their quota of electricity for them.
The power failure and the chaos followed on a day when Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde was moved to the Home Ministry and Corporate Affairs Minister Veerappa Moily was given the additional charge of power.
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 northern grid covers nine regions -- Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, J&K and Chandigarh.
At least six states are covered by the eastern grid. They are West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and Sikkim.
The north-eastern grid connects Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura.
With PTI inputs
First Published: Tuesday, July 31, 2012, 16:08