High-level committee to probe massive power breakdown

Netblocks says internet connectivity in Pakistan collapsed due to the outage

By: News Desk
Published: 11:01 AM, 10 Jan, 2021
High-level committee to probe massive power breakdown
Stay tunned with 24 News HD Android App
Get it on Google Play

The National Transmission and Dispatch Company has set up a high-level committee to probe the massive electricity breakdown in the country, plunging all major cities into darkness, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Sunday.

NTDC Managing Director Engineer Dr Khawaja Riffat formed the committee to establish reasons behind such a power blackout. 

GSO General Manager Malik Javed will be convenor of the committee whereas its members are GM Technical Abbas Memon, Chief Engineer Protection and Control Atif Mujeeb Usmani and Chief Engineer Network Operation Sajjad Ahmad.

Meanwhile, the electricity is gradually being restored in Pakistan on Sunday following the huge power breakdown due to which much of the country was plunged into darkness, with every city reporting outages.

The Power Ministry claimed that the power supply has been restored at all the grid stations in Gujrat and Mandi Bahauddin. It said supply is also gradually returning in Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Multan, Jehlum and Muzaffargarh whereas power is also being supplied to several feeders of K-Electric in Karachi.

The Federal Power Ministry said all units of the Tarbela and Warsak power stations have been restarted. Electricity was also restored in NTDC’s Sangjani and Mardan grids.

The other areas where the power supply has been restored were Kharian, Lalamusa, Rawat and Gujjar Khan. 

Homes throughout the country were suddenly plunged into darkness from about midnight until morning before the power supply started to return gradually. Major cities, including Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi were among those affected.

Officials earlier appealed for calm but warned that it could take several hours before electricity is fully restored.

In a tweet, a Power Division spokesman said preliminary inquiry suggested that the power plants shut down after a sudden drop in the system frequency.

According to the Federal Ministry of Water and Power, a fault which occurred in Guddu power station at 11.41pm Saturday night caused tripping in the country’s high transmission line, due to which the system frequency dropped from 50 to zero within no second.

"A countrywide blackout has been caused by a sudden plunge in the frequency in the power transmission system," Power Minister Omar Ayub Khan wrote on Twitter in the early hours of Sunday. "The fault tripped the transmission system of the country... leading to the shutdown of power plants," he added.

Omar Ayub later said that power had been restored in some regions, including Peshawar. He added that an investigation was under way to determine the cause of the blackout.

Omar Ayub is also expected to address a news conference in Islamabad to give details about the power breakdown.

The Ministry of Power said that power had been restored in some parts of the country, and that teams were still working on restoring supply completely early Sunday.

Netblocks, which monitors internet outages said internet connectivity in the country "collapsed" as a result of the outage. Connectivity was at "62 percent of ordinary levels," it said in a tweet.

Power cuts are not uncommon in Pakistan. Essential facilities such as hospitals often use diesel-fuelled generators as a back-up power supply.

The electricity distribution system in the nation of more than 210 million people is a complex -- and delicate -- web, and a problem in one section of the grid can lead to cascading breakdowns countrywide.

Blackouts sometimes occur in Pakistan because of chronic power shortages, with many areas having no electricity for several hours a day. The issue has previously led to street protests. 

In 2013, Pakistan's electricity network broke down completely after a power plant in Balochistan developed a technical fault.

In 2015 an apparent militant attack on a key power line plunged around 80 percent of Pakistan into darkness.

That blackout, one of the worst in Pakistan's history, caused electricity to be cut in major cities nationwide, including the capital Islamabad, and even affected one of the country's international airports.