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Crisis in Punjab as 6 power units collapse
Sarbjit Dhaliwal and Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
Power crisis worsened in various parts of Punjab as all six units of the Ropar Super Thermal Plant “collapsed” around noon today following a steep dip in the voltage owing to a major fault in the 220 KV line between Ropar and Kohara.

The shutdown of all the six units of the thermal plant led to an immediate deficit of about 1200 MW in the state’s power kitty thus creating a big trouble for the Punjab State Electricity Board( PSEB) which is already struggling to cope with the situation because of a breakdown in the Rohand-Dadri high voltage direct current(HVDC) transmission line through which Punjab is drawing power from the Eastern and Western grids.

Spending several crores of rupees every month, Punjab has been buying power from West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Karnataka, and Orissa. And that power was flowing to Punjab through the HVDC transmission line. Besides, Punjab is also getting power supply from Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, J and K and Rajasthan on barter system basis.

“Efforts are being made to recover the collapsed units of the thermal plant”, said a senior officer of the PSEB. He said already two units had been lighted up again for revival. The remaining four would be revived by tomorrow morning. “We expect all the six units to start normal functioning by tomorrow morning”, said the officer.

“Sudden shutting down of the units because of the dip in voltage resulted in damage to the diaphragm in the vital turbine part of the unit and it has to be replaced”, said the officer. However, in two units, the diaphragm was not damaged and that made possible the lighting up of these units for revival at 5 pm and 5.40 pm, respectively.

Following the collapse of all the six units, the PSEB had to resort to major power cuts almost in the entire state. Even, cities like Chandigarh were affected because of the power crisis. People witnessed lot of power fluctuation in Chandigarh this afternoon.

The collapse of the six units added to the problems of the PSEB which was trying hard to deal with the critical situation created because of the fault in the Rohand-Dadri transmission line. Sources said the drawing of power from the Eastern and Western grids had been restricted because of the fault in that transmission line. Punjab, Haryana and other areas in the region collectively draw 750 MW of power through that line. And Punjab’s average share is around 250 MW daily. “The fault in the Rohand-Dadri line had earlier come as a setback to the PSEB and the collapse of the six units further added to that”, said the officer.

The actual power demand at present in the state is around 8,000 MW. However, by resorting to power cuts and imposing weekly offs and peak-load time power restrictions for industry, the PSEB has restricted the power demand to 6500 MW daily. The poor monsoon in this part of the country has further added to the woes of the PSEB. The demand for power should have come down now but it has not happened because of almost “no rain” in certain parts of the state.

This has also created a law and order problem at several places. Troubled by persisting power cuts, people at various places had scuffles with officials of the PSEB in the field. Only a few days ago, residents of Lalru had blocked the traffic on the Ambala-Chandigarh highway to protest against the prolonged power cuts.





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