The Northern Grid failure disrupted power supply as well as generation in Punjab on Monday, adversely affecting train, air and hospital services. However, authorities had managed to restore 70-80% of electricity across the state till the filing of this report.
The restoration of power supply in Punjab was delayed due to a technical problem at the Bhakra plant of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB). Notably, start-up power is required for restarting hydroelectric as well as thermal power units.
“The Bhakra plant could not supply startup power till 9am. As soon as this power was made available, PSPCL management, engineers and employees made efforts to rectify the situation. Initially, power generation was commenced from our own hydroelectric stations. By 4pm, six units of thermal plants were also brought back to normal,” said KD Chaudhary, chairman-cum-managing director, Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL).
Punjab had managed to restore 70-80% of electricity across the state till the filing of this report.
“We are working on starting power generation from all plants,” said GS Chhabra, director, generation, PSPCL.
“What we feared has happened. The grid was under severe strain as states such as Uttar Pradesh and Haryana were overdrawing power to meet their requirements against the backdrop of a poor monsoon. This was being done despite several warnings,” a Northern Grid official said.
The power plants/projects which were forced to shut down due to the grid failure included Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Power Plant (GNDTPP), Bathinda; Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant (GGSSTP), Rupnagar; Guru Hargobind Thermal Plant (GHTP), Lehra Mohabbat (Bathinda); Upper Bari Doab Canal hydroelectric project and all hydroelectric projects run by the BBMB.
The grid collapse delayed synchronisation of unit 3 of GNDTPP. Unit 3 was supposed to have started producing around 60 MW. The PSPCL authorities remained busy restarting two units of GNDTPP, four units of the Lehra Mohabbat plant and six units of GGSSTP.
Units 1, 2, and 3 of GHTP were synchronised back at 2.24pm, 4.04pm, and 4.51pm, respectively, and units 1 and 2 of GNDTPP at 3:30pm and 4:40pm, respectively.
Sources said start-up supply from the BBMB was made available at the Rupnagar plant around 8am and at the Lehra Mohabbat plant around 9am. Normally, it takes 10 minutes to start a power plant unit. On Monday, it took more than two hours.
Sources claimed that problems regarding auxiliary supply and overloading at hydel units of the Bhakra dam after the grid failure led to repeated tripping, which delayed restarting of units.
The BBMB chief engineer (generation), KK Kaul, denied that there was any delay in starting of units at the Bhakra dam.
Three units of the Rupnagar plant had also been revived till Monday evening.
Generation capacity --- 3,700 MW installed (2,800 MW functional)
Drawal limit from Northern Grid --- 5,400 MW
Overdrawal --- Up to 5,900 MW, whenever frequency allows
With inputs from Kamaldeep Singh Brar in Bathinda and Bahadurjeet Singh in Rupnagar