Massive power breakdown badly affects Sindh commercial life

Talha Makhdoom\Atif Khan
Country’s commercial hub suffers another complete breakdown of electricity while private electric company K-Electric claimed to have produced over 75 percent power unable to supply a single electricity unit from its own production.
Such massive power breakdown from National grid had badly effect the routine and commercial life in various cities of upper Sindh including Karachi and some parts of Balochistan.
Power has been suspended at around 3:25am on Sunday.  Suspension of electricity had not been occurred in Karachi alone but also in upper Sindh including Karachi and some parts of Balochistan province.
According to the spokesman of K-Electric the power suspended when 500kv power supply line of national grid was tripped due to humidity and fog. The tripping caused a massive breakdown in various districts of Sindh including Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas and Tando Allahyar, similarly the fault triggered the power disruption in several parts of Balochistan including Quetta, Nasirabad, Jafarabad, Jhal Magsi, Sohbatpur.
Due to the power breakdown all commercial and routine activities have been badly affected as hospitals were suffered because of difficulties in routine medico-services, Police and other law enforcement agencies also facing difficulties in coordination as wireless system failed during the power suspension.  While the power suspension also disturbed the circulation of various newspapers due to absence of power supply in printing press.
It is worth mentioning here that it was the forth power breakdown during the last four months.
K-Electric repeatedly claimed that the company had generated around 1600 megawatt electricity from its own resources and only 650 megawatt electricity received from the national grid to fulfill city demand of 2200 megawatt.
On the other side, K-Electric explained that the breakdown of the power transmission from the NTDC was the main cause of the power outages in most areas of Sindh including Karachi and Balochistan.
Early on Sunday morning, the 500 KV from NTDC’s transmission line from Guddu/Dadu tripped due to heavy fog, which caused a sudden overload to the electrical network of K-Electric and Hubco power plants respectively, leading to power outages.
“The sudden disruption of supply from the NTDC technically trips the entire system to which the power utility/ generation companies of Karachi and Sindh are connected which includes KE, as a major player. This tripping had a domino effect leading to a series of outage in grids supplying power to the city. In such a scenario, our first priority is to restore our connection from the NTDC. However, that was not possible in the first instance today due to the heavy fog, therefore, KE immediately went into stand alone “Island Mode” – isolating the NTDC on a temporary and limited basis – to restore power to the city” said KE’s spokesperson.
Spokesperson KE added, “Our engineers worked diligently to power up key installations e.g. priority health services (hospitals), PAF Base, and the Quaid-e-Azam International Airport, along with some other key defence/security establishments and were able to do so progressively within the first two hours of this breakdown.”
He said that the NTDC power transmission to Karachi was back on-line around 2:00 PM, by which time KE’s own efforts had undertaken the restoration of around 60pc of city’s feeders. The spokesperson said that KE’s engineers then worked with remarkable effectiveness to synchronize KE’s system with NTDC with zero disruption, which was no small technical feat, achieving full restoration of power (around mid-day) to KE’s entire commercial footprint, which includes part of Sindh and Balochistan.
Spokesperson also said that the inclement weather in winter in the form of dense fog in tandem with low ambient temperatures adversely affects the NTDC system in the country, which is the major cause of such nationwide power breakdowns that the power consumers have faced in the recent past. Spokesperson for KE added, “While we apologise to our consumers for the inconvenience caused by such breakdowns but we assure them that K-Electric, makes every effort to serve them with professional zeal and commitment.”  
Our Islamabad reporter adds: Spokesman to Prime Minister, Dr Musadik Malik said that the actual reasons for the blackout would be known after investigation only but he admitted that two major breakdown in short span of 8-10 days could not be ignored.
There is no doubt that our power infrastructure is weak, along with taking measures to increase electricity generation we are also planning to upgrade the transmission system also, Malik said, adding the first priority of government is to generate additional electricity on gas for the coming year. According to sources the power distribution companies has not bought necessary power transformers and other equipment from last many years just to make good kickbacks. Some tenders to Chinese companies, were challenged in courts, by the officials backing German lobby and vice versa, just to mint commissions.
Yes we are aware of the matter and looking into the matter and trying to devise a procedure that no one could get a stay order from the court without having any sufficient grounds, Malik said.
It is pertinent to mention that last week Minister of Water and power, Khawaja Asif pointed out irregularities in K-Electric and said that he was helpless, as company has obtained stay order against most of the administrative decisions by his ministry against the company.
He said that despite subsidies from federal government they were not only reluctant to pay their dues but also fleecing public with access bills.
The K-electric responded back by strong denial. The weather has to become more severe next month, but Ministry of Water and Power, NTDC and K-electric has yet to announce the steps they would take to avoid future power failures. The allegations were denied by the K-Electric in strong words.
The power outbreaks have started when winter has just started in most parts of the country.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt