Ministry and Wapda clarify blackout report

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ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Water and Power and Wapda on Sunday denied that an enquiry had found that the Feb. 24 countrywide blackout was caused by Ghazi Barotha failure. Reacting to The News report of March 9, 2013 carrying the findings of the enquiry committee about the total collapse of the system, the clarification said the enquiry committee had not yet submitted its final report, whereas the interim report was a fact-finding report carrying no such conclusion.
The ministry’s spokesman also denied the blame in the report regarding the influence used on the enquiry by chairman WAPDA and underlined that the enquiry committee, headed by Member Power, had been constituted by the Ministry of Water and Power and it was liable to submit its report to the ministry. The committee is carrying out its investigations independently.

Meanwhile, in its clarification Wapda said the enquiry committee looking into the collapse of system had already submitted an interim report directly to the secretary water & power on March 8. Therefore, chairman WAPDA has no involvement in this regard; thus influencing the enquiry proceedings is totally out of question and is categorically denied.

The enquiry committee, which is in the process of investigating the causes of power breakdown in its final report, would be in a better position to draw the final conclusion taking into account all technical aspects of the power system and until then outright conclusion portrayed by the newspaper is totally misleading.

Khalid Mustafa adds: The story was based on the inquiry report, a copy of which is available with The News, which clearly says that Ghazi Barotha hydropower project triggered a cascading effect in the whole transmission network causing the countrywide blackout.

It further says shift engineers at Ghazi Barotha Hydropower Project observed severed jerks on the system followed by an abnormal sound from the penstock side and main generators of Unit, 1, 3, and 4. The generating units were shifted to isolation mode from routine power mode due to extremely low system and the shift engineers on duty shut down the units as a precautionary measure to avoid any probable damage due to extremely low storage ponds level; it was apprehended that due to aeration and air trap phenomenon, the tunnel could be damaged abruptly.

On account of action of the engineers, all the 500 and 220 KV transmission lines were found de-energized.

The report says the abnormality occurred due to cascaded outages of various plants in the south of power network resulting in low frequency and unstable operation at the Barotha power station.

Now the question arises as to why the ministry is terming the report misleading. As for the enquiry report, it has been submitted to the prime minister.

This is crystal clear from the reports about the Feb. 24 blackout published in all the leading dailies quoting Wapda officials that a fault at Hubco had led to the massive power breakdown plunging the country into darkness.

After that Hubco asked for an independent enquiry claiming that no fault was detected at Hubco and refuted the Wapda’s assertion.

Now it has been found out that the fault actually occurred at Ghazi Barotha that triggered a cascading effect in the whole transmission network causing the countrywide blackout and the top man of the Wapda hydel company does not want to make this finding public. So, The News stand by it story.

 

Courtesy: The News


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