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Major power failure in northern region
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh/ New Delhi, December 23
Entire Punjab, large parts of Haryana, Chandigarh, parts Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir went without power for more than eight hours following a major snag in the transmission system of the northern power grid today.

In spite of power failure in such a large part of the region, Powergrid Corporation Chairman R.P. Singh termed it “localised” problem of Punjab and not a “grid failure”.

The power supply was disrupted at 6.50 am, affecting train services, business activity, industrial production and hospital services in the region. It also caused disruption of water supply.

Supply was restored in major cities around 3 pm but rural areas and small towns continued to face power disruption till late in the night.

Sources in the power sector said a snag developed in the Dehar-Panipat 400 kv line, near Jamalpur, Ludhiana.

Also, four high-tension circuits near the industrial township of Gobindgarh in Fatehgarh Sahib district tripped, resulting in a cascading affect on the entire grid.

Within seconds, major power power lines to Bhiwani, Sangrur, Jalandhar and Ganguwal tripped.

Since faults on power lines travel towards the generating stations, the thermal power generating plants at Ropar, Lehra Mohabbat, Bathinda and Panipat were shut down. Hydel power projects were also closed down.

A senior engineer said once the power grid line developed a fault, the voltage and power frequency of the northern grid suddenly shot up, resulting in the tripping of various generation projects.

Bhakra Beas Management Board member S.C. Mahajan said power was first restored at Bhakra and gradual restoration was started as lines carrying power also needed to be repaired before full generation.

Hydel generation had been restored by 10 am, Mr Mahajan added. Divisional Railway Manager of Ambala Railway Division R.K. Tandon said around 20 passenger trains were affected.

Sources said the trains hit included the Chandigarh-New Delhi Shatabdi, the Delhi-Nangal Express, the Sirhind-Nangal Mail, the Chhattisgarh-Amritsar Mail, the Amritsar-Howrah Mail, the Jhelum Express, the Delhi-Amritsar Shatabdi, the Nangal Dam Express, the Shalimar Express, the Himgiri Express and the Sealdah Express.

At Ropar, all six units of the Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant and all hydel plants remained suspended. Sources said though hydel power generation could start within minutes, it took up to four hours for thermal power stations to be restored.

Power generation from BBMB hydel plants at Ganguwal and Kotla and Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) hydel plants at Ganguwal and Nakiyyan in Anandpur Sahib also remained suspended for about four hours.

The first unit was restarted at 2 pm and a total of four units had started by 7 pm, while the other two were expected to start late in the night, Chief Engineer N.K. Arora said.

At Bathinda, all four units of the Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP) and two units of the Guru Hargobind Thermal Plant (GHTP), Lehra Mohabbat, tripped.

Chief Engineer of the GNDTP Baldev Singh said two of the four units — Unit I and Unit IV — started functioning on full load after about four hours, while Unit II was being fixed. He said a leakage had surfaced in Unit III and it would take about a day to restart.

On the other hand, Chief Engineer of the GHTP H.K. Dua said both units of the plant had tripped in the morning and they would start functioning around 3 pm.


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