The blistering heat wave sweeping across most towns and cities of Upper Sindh, Balochistan and some parts of Punjab caused a massive power breakdown on Sunday morning when all units of the Guddu Thermal Power Station tripped once again.
Electricity supply from Guddu station was suspended at 8:10 am. As a result, most cities in Upper Sindh including, Sukkur, Rohri, Pannu Aqil, Ghotki, Mirpur Mathelo, Daharki, Ubauro, Jacobabad, Thull, Kashmore, Guddu, Shikarpur, Khairpur, Naushehro Feroze, Larkana and others faced a blackout.
Similarly, most of the districts in Balochistan and some parts of Punjab were also left without power for many hours in the morning, facing a gruelling sun during one of the warmest days in the country.
The power breakdown at Guddu was a repeat of an earlier incident on Thursday night, when all units of the power station had tripped due to the development of a major fault. While electricity had been restored partially over the weekend, the fault had not been removed fully when once again all the units tripped on Sunday morning.
When contacted for their views, officials at different control rooms of the Guddu station expressed their ignorance about the nature of the fault and said that all senior officials were busy rectifying it. They pointed out that since senior staff were busy in ensuring the power returned, they could not offer their comments on the breakdown.
However, talking to The Express Tribune, Resident Engineer Arshad Arain blamed overloading for the consecutive tripping of power units at the station. Similarly, an official of the electrical control room, Sher Mohammad, said that the main transformer of the power station had been overloaded which is why all four production units of the Guddu Station, which were operating at the time, had tripped.
When asked for his opinion on an earlier comment by officials that seven units of the power station had been operational after the blackout on Thursday, Mohammad said that the official had not given the right number of operational units. He insisted that only four out of 13 units were in operation on Saturday evening and all of them had tripped. This has resulted in a shortfall of 400megawatts to the national grid, he added.
Partial power supply had been restored in some areas by late afternoon, but many cities were still without power during mid-day.
Later in the day, Mohammad Aslam Sheikh, Chief Executive officer of Guddu Thermal Power Station, power in seven units of the state is operational and by Monday (today), the eighth will also be functioning.
On Thursday, one of the units caught fire, Aslam said. He said station officials are working on overhauling the unit and it will be operational in 90 days.
Following severe power outages, protests flared in different parts of the country. In Gujranwala, a mob of angry protesters vandalised the Water and Power Development Authority’s complaint office.
In Peshawar, people took to the streets against paralysing power outages and the subsequent lack of potable water in their areas. Prolonged power outages in Mingora have resulted in an acute water shortage in the region.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 27th, 2013.
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