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Unexpected power issue a casualty of fog

LAHORE: People in most urban and rural areas of Punjab faced the menace of loadshedding for most part of Wednesday when various power plants, transmission lines and grid stations started tripping owing to what officials said dense fog.

The situation forced the distribution companies (Discos) to observe forced loadshedding and load management on an hourly basis in most parts of the province. Many areas in Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Sahiwal, DG Khan, Bahawalpur, Toba Tek Singh, Sheikhupura, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Jhelum and Rawalpindi faced power shutdowns.

In Deepalpur and Chunian, says a report, there was no electricity for 12 hours or so.

“There is already power shutdown for about eight to 10 hours a week on the pretext of maintenance but Wednesday’s situation was the worst as there was no power for about four hours (7:30 to 11:20 am). This was followed by regular loadshedding on an hourly basis besides low voltage,” said a resident of Township.

A source said Wednesday was a very tough day for the Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) and offices in other parts of Punjab. “Officials including the engineering staff of Fesco, Mepco, Iesco and Gepco remained busy in managing the load after many grid stations stopped working one by one due to tripping of the plants and lines,” said the source. He said the situation started improving after 3:00pm after some of the plants resumed operation.

“The 1,200MW Bhikki plant (Sheikhupura) is also closed these days due to non-provision of LNG and other technical issues,” he claimed.

According to an official, the foggy weather first made Guddu plant idle, followed by breakdown of its 500kV transmission, 1,200MW RLNG-fired Balloki plant (Kasur) which is connected with the 500kV Sarfraznagar (Phoolnagar) and 220kV New Kot Lakhpat transmission lines, Nishat Power and Nishat Chunian plants and several 132kV transmission lines and grid stations of Lesco, Mepco, Fesco and other companies.

“In Lahore alone, 26,132kV grid stations and their transmission lines tripped one by one. Similarly 500kV Safraznagar grid (New Lahore) and its line connecting the New Kot Lakhpat also tripped due to cascading effect of the breakdown, leaving several parts of Lahore and other cities of the province without light,” the official explained.

However, an engineer posted at a plant claimed that the Balloki plant resumed the power generation of over 1,200MW after 12 noon. “Since the 1,200MW Havaili Bahadur Shah (Jhang) plant was already closed owing to non-provision of the RLNG from the SNGPL, Balloki plant also stopped generation due to tripping issue. However, it resumed the operation after 12 noon,” he added.

A senior official of the National Transmission & Dispatch Company said the NTDC’s lines tripped owing to dense fog. They included Guddu-Rahim Yar Khan, Yusafwala-Sheikhupura, Ghazi and Kot Lakhpat.

“Fog is a natural phenomenon that reduces insulation level of the transmission lines. It also causes sparking in the discs, tripping the lines,” NTDC Managing Director Zafar Abbas said.

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