Failure of safeguards led to power outage in Pakistan

WION Web Team
Islamabad Published: Feb 11, 2021, 03:00 PM(IST)

A file photo of a Pakistani man looking at a clock for sale in the light of a fluorescent bulb during a power outage in Rawalpindi. Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Senior officers held detailed discussions after many cities and towns across Pakistan plunged into darkness on Saturday night, following a major technical fault in the country's power generation and distribution system

Poor maintenance and subsequent failure of the protection system in the national grid led to one of the worst power outages faced by Pakistan last week, the Dawn reported on Monday. 

The newspaper reported that senior officers held detailed discussions after many cities and towns across Pakistan plunged into darkness on Saturday night, following a major technical fault in the country's power generation and distribution system. 

The officials admitted that the blackout had exposed the mismanagement on the part of the government in running the entire power sector of the country on an ad hoc basis, it said. 

The chief executive officers of all the three key companies concerned, the Central Power Generation Company-Guddu, the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) and the National Power Control Centre (NPCC), have been working on ad hoc or acting charge basis for years. 

The Central Power Generation Company (CPGC) runs the Guddu Power Station where the initial technical fault was reported to have taken place, leading to Karachi, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Islamabad, Multan and other places facing the blackout. 

The NTDC operates the country's national grid, whose protection system should have reacted to the Guddu station's tripping and isolated the fault. It’s system, meant to stop the transmission frequency from dropping, apparently did not work resulting in the cascading closure of all the power plants across the country in a matter of seconds. 

The NPCC monitors the flow of electricity from power plants to various distribution companies (Discos). It has to manage supply systems for proper load and frequency balancing. 

Even the Discos are working without regular chief executive officers for more than two and a half years, the newspaper said. 

The NTDC is without a regular chief executive officer since July 2017 while NPCC has not seen a full-time CEO for more than a decade. The NPCC chief, working on a temporary basis, was hired last year from the private sector. 

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