All the 13 districts in Seemandhra region face power shortage by about 30 to 40 per cent and most importantly, there is a threat that the southern grid might collapse, as many of the power plants in the region have tripped and the maintenance staff who have responded to the 48-hour bandh call in protest against the Cabinet’s decision to carve out Telangana, might not join duty even on Sunday morning.
Except for the staff of NTTPS power plant at Ibrahimpatnam, who will join duty at 6 a.m. on Sunday, the SPDCL and APTransco employees have resolved to go on indefinite strike from 6 a.m. in continuation of this 48-hour strike. Five of the six 210 MW units of APGenco at Dr. Narla Tatarao Thermal Power Station (NTTPS), Ibrahimpatnam, which were the first to trip on Friday evening, were not attended to till Saturday night.
The Chief Engineer of the plant, J. Samaiah, informed that the workers will be back on duty only on Sunday morning at 6 a.m. and only then will they be restarted and restored by 6 p.m.
The plant has six 210 units and one 500 MW unit, producing 1,760 MW in total. Out of the six, five got tripped due to a blast in the current transformer and one was shut down for general maintenance.
The plant was operating only on the 500 MW, but by Saturday evening the load was reduced to 350 MW, due to shortage of coal.
Adding to the NTTPS problem, all the five 210 MW units at Rayalaseema Thermal Power Station (RTPS) tripped due to a technical snag. The NTTPS JAC convenor Shyam Sundar informed The Hindu that apart from the thermal power stations, four out of six 60 MW units at Srisailam hydel station have also joined the league of tripping and Machkund and Sileru were jointly able to produce only up to 300 MW out of the total installed capacity of 784 MW, again due to a technical problem and none will be restored as the workers have responded to the bandh call.
“Totally, about 3,000 MW of power is off the grid. And if the 500 MW at NTTPS also fails then there was a chance that the southern grid might collapse. But we have placed our skeletal staff comprising only about 6 assistant engineers to run the show,” he said.
He also pointed out that in the present situation if there was more tripping even at the hydel plants then it might affect Hyderabad and the Southern Railway traction. But at the same time he also informed The Hindu that there was also a provision both for Hyderabad and the Railways to draw power from Kothagudem plant or NTPC at Visakhapatnam during emergency.