When the power supply snapped at 2-30 a.m. on Monday, it did more than just interrupt sleep. Disruption was caused in various services, including water supply, train traffic, at the airport, hospitals and industry.
The city’s water treatment plants came to a grinding halt when the power supply snapped. The heavy equipment that makes up the treatment facility cannot be run on back-up supply like diesel generator sets. Therefore, power had to be restored to these vital installations on a priority basis.
Delhi Jal Board officials said the water treatment plants were put on dedicated feeder lines and as soon as the power supply was restored at the Northern Grid, they were able to resume function at the treatment plants. Water supply to Nangloi and Bawana was restored much later than at the other plants, which led to a water supply problem in the areas on the command of these plants. “Most of the plants were restored by 6.30 a.m. on a priority basis, but there were some areas that could not get morning supply. We supplied water to some areas in the afternoon and evening supply was almost normal,” said an official.
Water tankers, the official said had to be despatched to some areas that did not get the usual supply.
None of the hospitals including Guru Tegh Bahadur, Safdarjung or Ram Manohar Lohia faced any power supply problem and out patients departments, emergency services were functional. Some wards in Lady Hardinge Hospital had power failure for a short while but supply was immediately restored.
One of the country’s busiest hospitals, the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, has it back-up electricity supply. “AIIMS has a back-up supply, which was used at the time of the power cut. None of the patients had any problem and all emergency services were functioning,” said AIIMS spokesperson Y.K. Gupta.
Even as the rest of the city was rendered without power, efforts were made to procure power for the VIP areas.
VIP addresses including the Rashtrapati Bhavan and the Prime Minister’s residence on Race Course Road had to bear the power cut for a much smaller duration than the rest of the city.
At Rashtrapati Bhavan, solar lamps installed inside prevented the Estate from plunging into darkness, emergency lights installed in the residence wing and the guest wing meant for the President too were helpful in mitigating the discomfort brought on by the power cut.
Special arrangements were made to provide power to the Prime Minister’s residence within hours of the power cut.
“Power supply was disrupted since 2-30 a.m., but we managed to partially restore it by 5 a.m. in the VIP areas. We got power from the gas turbines of Badarpur and Dadri. By 10-30 a.m. the power supply to the NDMC area was almost normal,” said a New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) official.
Though there was no delay in flights caused by the power cut, certain services at the airport itself were somewhat affected. DIAL officials said flight operations were “absolutely normal and there were no cancellations or delays”.
“The entire load of the airport was restored within 15-60 seconds. This was made possible by an extensive arrangement of power back-up and multiple redundancies put in place by DIAL. As soon as the power supply showed fluctuations, the ‘Main Receiving Sub-Station’ (MRSS) at IGIA ensured that the DG sets automatically took the load,” said a spokesperson.
Delhi Metro was yet another victim of Monday’s power supply breakdown with thousands of passengers inconvenienced as services across all six corridors was disrupted. For more than four-and-a-half hours, power supply was not available at any of the Metro lines and depots thereby not allowing the Metro services to function as per normal schedules.
A team of senior officers was deployed to look into the situation and power was borrowed from Bhutan. “The DMRC received hydel power from Bhutan on priority basis,” said a DMRC spokesperson.
A team of seniors officers from Delhi Metro’s Electrical wing swung into action at 2-30 a.m. to ensure that power supply is resumed at the earliest. Services began an hour later at 7 a.m. as against the usual 6 a.m. “Between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., trains were inducted in a phased manner. Only 25 per cent of trains were put into service,” said a DMRC spokesperson, adding regular services were made available from 9 a.m. onwards. Till 8-30 a.m., only six-car trains (a total of 26) were inducted into service to cater to commuters on Line-2.
To manage the crowds at major interchange stations especially on the ‘Yellow Line’ (HUDA City Centre-Jahangirpuri), nine trains were planned to run empty from Vishwavidyalaya of which six were to begin service at Kashmere Gate and three to begin from Rajiv Chowk hea-ding to HUDA City Centre.
Around 200 trains and lakhs of passengers were affected after the power grid failure disrupted train services across eight divisions of the northern railway early on Monday. Anil Saxena, additional director general, public relations in the Railway Ministry said: “It was a massive power failure which disrupted the railway operations on a big scale. The electrical power failure occurred at 2-32 a.m. We could restore the services only by 7 a.m. At present trains are running late on average by 3-4 hours. “Senior managers in the railways are monitoring the situation along with electrical engineers and are in touch with power suppliers,” he added.
Electricity supply was restored by 7 a.m. as additional electricity was obtained from Dadri plant near Delhi and Phapund in Aurai. At present electric supply has been restored but many trains, including the Rajdhani, Shatabdi and express trains, are still running hours behind their schedules. According to railway officials it can take up to 48 hours for the services to get normalised. Freight train services too were halted as around 200 goods trains were cancelled in order to accord priority to passenger trains.
(Inputs from Bindu Shajan Perappadan, Sowmiya Ashok and Mohammad Ali )