Monster power cut knocks out half of India's power

India's northern and eastern power grids collapse, blacking out half the country and affecting hundreds of millions.


Afp July 31, 2012

NEW DELHI: India's northern and eastern power grids collapsed on Tuesday, blacking out half the country and affecting hundreds of millions of people in the second day of electricity chaos.

"We are busy with the revival right now... Both the Northern and Eastern grids have collapsed. Please allow us to address the problem," VK Agrawal, the general manager of the northern grid, told AFP.

In New Delhi, the metro train system came to a standstill and many traffic lights were out for the second day in a row after the northern grid failed on Monday in the worst power outage in a decade.

"Drivers of all the metro trains have been asked to stop at the stations. No passengers will be allowed in the metro station until power is restored," a metro spokeswoman told AFP.

About 400 trains were affected by the power outage, a spokesman for the railways told AFP.

In the east, the city of Kolkata was without power as were most parts of the surrounding state of West Bengal, an official at the West Bengal State Electricity Supply Corp, B Mukherjee, confirmed to AFP.

The eastern grid covers five states including West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Sikkim, and Orissa.

"This is a big crisis. We are working to restore power. Many states overdraw power and this has caused a complete collapse in eastern and northern India," said a senior official at the ministry of power in New Delhi.

On Monday, the northern grid collapsed for six hours shortly after 2:00 am (2030 GMT Sunday), causing travel chaos and widespread inconvenience in nine states including the capital New Delhi.

Major hospitals and airports in the region were able to function normally on emergency back-up power, but train services were severely disrupted.

Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde called it a "failure" but he also boasted that India had been quick to restore power, unlike the United States which took days to restore electricity a 2003 blackout on its eastern seaboard.

He and the rest of the government woke up Tuesday to a barrage of calls for urgent reform of the power sector.

Leading the charge were business lobby groups who said Monday's outage - the worst to hit the country in a decade - underlined the government's inability to address India's perennial electricity shortfall.

"The increasing gap between electricity supply and demand has long been a matter of concern," said Chandrajit Banerjee, director general of the Confederation of Indian Industry.

The CII, Banerjee said, has "consistently highlighted" the need for urgent steps to improve supplies of coal to thermal power plants and reforming state distribution utilities.

"This latest outage is just an urgent reminder for addressing these issues as a priority," he added.

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COMMENTS (65)

888 | 8 years ago | Reply

Fellow Indians: India is a developing country with a huge number of problems and we are all aware that we are slowly going in the right direction. Lets not point out the problems in Pakistan or the rest of the world just because we have some issues. That doesnt make us any better than the Pakistanis who point out the problems in the world on a daily basis and continue to keep their blinkers on. Its rather stupid infact to say that Pakistan has 18hrs of loadshedding or that the US had power cuts when we ourselves have issues. We might be better off than Pakistan but by gloating over whats wrong in Pakistan doesnt make the situation in India any better.

Pakistanis: Please get out of this false bravado that you can be compared to India or to any developing country for that matter. Focus on your own problems and build your country. Thats the easyest and only way to chase away the so called Indian trolls.

Ahmer Ali | 8 years ago | Reply

But this power cut for India is temporary or for the time being but unfortunately for Pakistan energy crisis is permanent and long-lasting........

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