The inquiry committee probing last month’s countrywide blackout has held officials of the Guddu Thermal Power Plant responsible for the nationwide power outage.
“The problem occurred due to a human error at the Guddu power station. The error led to the tripping of the entire power system. The fault occurred as some officials did not follow standard operating procedures (SOPs) during the maintenance work,” said Secretary Power Ali Raza Bhutta while briefing the members of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Energy.
“Due to a mistake, the Guddu Thermal Power Plant tripped and there was a complete blackout. At the time of the blackout, the power consumption in the country stood at 10,000 megawatts,” he added.
The entire country plunged into darkness on January 9 after the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) power system got hit by a major breakdown due to the tripping around midnight.
Moreover, Netblocks monitor internet outages had said that internet connectivity in the country collapsed as a result of the blackout.
The power secretary further said that “the officials of Guddu Thermal Power Plant along with those who have not improved the NTDC system are nominated by the inquiry committee for investigation. The committee has proposed to take measures to ensure that the failure of one plant does not trip the entire system in future”.
On January 10, the government had blamed the old transmission system for the breakdown. Energy Minister Omar Ayub Khan had said that “during the past tenures, no attention was paid to the improvement of the transmission system on modern lines. Under the government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the country saw eight major power breakdowns”.
“When the incumbent government assumed office, no work had been done to upgrade the transmission system. We are now investing in the transmission and distribution system. A $6 billion transmission line has been laid in Matiari,” added the minister at the time.
So far, nine energy projects have been completed under the China Pakistan Energy Corridor (CPEC), contributing 5340 MW of electricity to the main grid, which would meet the vital needs for industry, agriculture, and domestic consumers.
Out of 22 projects, another eight are about to be completed and would pump in an additional 4470 MW of electricity to the national grid. Another five projects are in the planning and implementation phase.