ISLAMABAD - National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has imposed a fine of Rs 50 million on Central Power Generation Company Limited, (CPGCL) on account of negligence of management of Guddu Power Plant which had plunged the entire country into darkness in January 2021.

The massive power breakdown occurred on January 9, 2021 and took 20 hours (approximately) to restore the system.

Pakistan on January 9, 2021, plunged into total darkness after the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) power system encountered a major breakdown due to the tripping of the Guddu Thermal Power Plant.

“NEPRA while taking cognizance of power breakdown which plunged the whole country into darkness has imposed a fine of Rs. 50 million on Central Power Generation Company Limited, (CPGCL) on account of negligence of management of Guddu Power Plant,” said spokesman NEPRA.

Earlier, NEPRA took serious notice of the above incident and constituted an Inquiry Committee to thoroughly investigate the matter in the light of NEPRA Act, Rules and Regulations. The Committee conducted the inquiry and presented a detailed report to the Authority, on the basis of which the Authority initiated legal proceedings against CPGCL.

Accordingly, an explanation dated April 1, 2021 was issued to CPGCL under Regulation 4(1) of the NEPRA (Fine) Regulations 2021, followed by a show cause notice dated February 11, 2022 under Section 27B of the NEPRA Act. Moreover, an opportunity of hearing was also granted to CPGCL on 17.05.2022, however, CPGCL failed to provide any satisfactory response and was found guilty of violating relevant provisions of the applicable documents. It is worth mentioning here that an inquiry committee probing the countrywide blackout had held some Guddu Thermal Power Plant officials responsible.

According the committee finding, the problem occurred due to a human error at the Guddu power station. The error led to the tripping of the entire power system. The report said that the fault occurred as some officials did not follow standard operating procedures (SOPs) during maintenance work. According the finding due to a mistake, the Guddu Thermal Power Plant tripped and there was a complete blackout across the country.