The report has held the management of Ghazi-Barotha Hydropower Project, a 1450-megawatt run-of-the-river project on the Indus River, responsible for the nationwide breakdown.
The report says Ghazi-Barotha shut down three of its generation units at 11:25 PM on February 24, depriving the national grid of a power supply of 870 megawatts without bringing the National Power Control Center in loop.
This closure brought the power grid’s frequency down from 50 to 48.49 Hertz, following which four of HUCO’s unit also went down, knocking about another 1200 megawatts out of the system. As result the power demand exceeded the supply to an extent that the national grid crashed, the sources said quoting the report.
On the other hand, the Chief Engineer Ghazi-Barotha, Ferozuddin, testifying before the inquiry committee said the turbines were shutdown after they developed an unusual noise, which he attributed to a decrease in the barrage’s level water. He said, in order to save the project from an imminent devastation, this maneuver was imperative.
“Had it not been switched off, the whole powerhouse might have wrecked beyond repair”, he told the inquiry panel.
The sources said, according to standard operating procedures (SOPs), in case of any emergent situation or before taking measures such as Ghazi-Barotha management took, the National Power Control Center must be informed.
A day earlier, Chairman Water & Power Development Authority (WABDA) had rejected the same report for it only held the system failure responsible for the breakdown rather than blowing the whistle on those officials who were responsible for the breakdown.
According to details, the rejected report had pinned the power failure that left the country reeling without electricity for the whole night on the faulty system. Surprisingly, no Wapda official was held responsible for the breakdown in the said report.
Sources in the Wapda said, a four-member inquiry committee headed by Wapda official, Qasim Khan, prepared the report to be sent to federal government, but the Wapda chief shot it down after he found out it was riddled with glaring lacunas.
One of his foremost concerns was that nowhere in the report did the inquiry panel identify the officials whose negligence or incompetence led to the nationwide power outage instead of blaming the technical faults in the national grid.
“The Wapda chief, expressing strong reservations over the report, directed the inquiry committee to plug the loopholes and come up with a detailed report clearly indicating the names of those who were responsible for the breakdown in any way”, said sources.
It is pertinent to mention that immediately after the incident, on the directives of the Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, Ministry of Water & Power constituted a four members committee comprising Member Wapda, Qasim Khan, Director Technical, NTDC (Power), Chief Engineer System Protection and Joint Secretary (Power) to get to the bottom of the power system dysfunction.