Power failures are common in India, but officials said Monday’s blackout was the worst in a decade. The Ministry of Power was investigating the cause, but officials suggested that part of the problem was probably excessive demand during the torrid summer.
“This is a one-off situation,” said Ajai Nirula, the chief operating officer of North Delhi Power Limited, which distributes power to nearly 1.2 million people in parts of north India. “Everyone was surprised.”
Monday’s blackout could have proved more crippling if not for what might be called India’s unofficial power grid — the tens of thousands of diesel generators and invertors, most privately owned, that serve as backup power sources across north India. Many hospitals across the region are equipped with backup generators, as are many office buildings and government offices. In New Delhi, many private homes also have private backup service.
“The electricity here goes every day, several times a day,” said Sushil Gupta, general manager of Ashok Mahajan Hospital in Amritsar. “We have installed two large generators. We don’t even know when the power goes and comes. Today was like any other day.”
The scale of Monday’s grid failure was enormous. Beginning at 2:30 a.m., the entire state of Rajasthan, with 67 million people, lost power. Power failures also affected Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi, which includes the capital, New Delhi. The capital’s seven water treatment plants, which require hundreds of megawatts of power, also temporarily lost power in the morning. However, officials said water service was fully restored by early evening.
Early morning commuters in New Delhi ran into a major problem, as the Delhi Metro, which carries almost 2 million passengers a day, was completely down for several hours. By 9 a.m., however, the system was again operational, if running slowly.
Power Ministry officials promised to identify the source of the grid failure as soon as possible. Initial, unconfirmed reports suggested that individual states may have drawn more than their allotted share of power from the grid, setting off the systemic failure.
“The system is under watch right now,” Nirula said. “Until corrective action and preventive action is taken, the system will remain under strain.”
Source: the star
Author: SRUTHI GOTTIPATI and NIHARIKA MANDHANA