ISLAMABAD: The national power grid faced a major breakdown as the Tarbela and Ghazi Barotha powerhouses suffered technical faults. The large part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab province did not get electricity for almost eight hours.
According to a spokesman for the Water and Power Ministry, NTDC engineers had managed to temporarily fix the transmission line, which suffered a major fault earlier today. However, the spokesman said that efforts were still being made to synchronise the power frequencies to restore regular production of electricity from all power plants. Mardan, Swabi, Nowshera, Haripur, Attock, Lahore, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Gujrat, Faisalabad, Chakwal, Jehlum were some of the areas affected by the technical breakdown today, including complete disruption of power supply in some regions.
Power was temporarily restored to several parts of KP and Punjab at the time of filing of this report, while engineers were working to restore supply to other affected areas. Officials of the water and power ministry said that at around 11am, a technical fault appeared in the Tarbela Power plant, which also affected the power production from Ghazi Barotha, causing the Northern Transmission line to trip. The fault resulted in a disruption of electricity supply to 70 per cent areas of KP province, and north and central Punjab. The tripping of the main transmission line also resulted in the breakdown of supply from other power plants.
Officials said that timely response from the National Power Control Center helped avert a major breakdown of the power system, which could have even resulted in nationwide electricity supply disruption similar to what was witnessed across Pakistan in 2012. Upper KP, southern Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh stayed unaffected from the breakdown. According to sources, the technical fault in Tarbela was triggered because of production being unable to match levels of demand, as a minimum amount of electricity is being generated from furnace oil-based power plants during the day. A major portion of electricity supply for Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is dependent on power generation from Tarbela and Mangla dams.