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Updated: January 2, 2010 22:36 IST

Grid failure plunges northern States into darkness

Sujay Mehdudia
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A scene at the Patel Nagar Station on Saturday when heavy fog disrupted train and flight schedules in New Delhi. The fog also triggered a grid collapse in India's northern States. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar.
The Hindu A scene at the Patel Nagar Station on Saturday when heavy fog disrupted train and flight schedules in New Delhi. The fog also triggered a grid collapse in India's northern States. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar.

The season’s first thick fog on Saturday hit major electricity transmission lines, resulting in the tripping of the entire northern grid leading to blackout and disruption of generation from thermal and hydro plants for nearly four to six hours in Punjab and Haryana, parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and the union territory of Chandigarh and Delhi.

From trains to planes, everything was hit by a technical problem in the 220 KV and 440 KV transmission lines. There was a loss of 5,500 MW of electricity at the Ropar, Bhatinda, Yamuna Nagar and Panipat power stations, wired to the northern grid.

Officials of the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited said the entire northern grid went down at 3.02 a.m. after a snag choked the transmission lines, reducing power to zero at many sub-stations. “There were disruptions in the 220 KV transmission line because of the fog over Punjab. The PGCIL cleaned the overhead transmission lines well in advance, but this could not prevent disruption of supply,” a senior official said. Major parts of Delhi and Haryana were hit by the power failure around early morning. Many localities in and around the National Capital Region (NCR) were plunged into darkness.

A number of power stations in Himachal Pradesh also stopped generation owing to the tripping of the grid. But they resumed generation after an hour. However, with the PGCIL and the State Electricity Boards getting into action, power was partially restored by 7:30 a.m. in some parts of Punjab and the Kashmir valley, with the supply from the Jalandhar, Nathpa-Jhakhri and Uri sub-stations having been diverted to these States.

Power failure also affected train services in Punjab and Haryana; many trains, including the Kalka-New Delhi Shatabdi Express and the Amritsar-New Delhi Shatabadi Express, were stranded owing to the disruption in power supply. Many others were running behind schedule.

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