Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has ordered an inquiry into the sudden power outage that impacted almost all parts of Mumbai and Thane Monday, and has also asked the state energy minister to figure out who was responsible for it.
Thackeray called a meeting of State Energy Minister Nitin Raut, minister of state for the department Prajakt Tanpure and Energy Secretary Aseem Gupta at the CM’s official residence, Varsha, at 4 pm, a state government source said.
Large parts of Mumbai and Thane faced an unusual power outage Monday morning at about 10 am due to a central grid failure at Kalwa, a satellite town of Mumbai.
Most parts of the city, from Colaba to Chembur and Girgaon to Goregaon, and parts of the larger Mumbai Metropolitan Region, suffered disruption in power supply.
The large-scale power failure also halted Mumbai’s lifeline, the local train services with trains stuck midway on railway tracks.
Power supply was restored in some parts of the city by noon and Western Railway, too, resumed rail services between Churchgate and Borivali.
In a statement, Milind Awatade, spokesperson at the Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Company Limited (MSETCL) said that power supply is likely to be restored across the city only by 5 pm.
“There was some maintenance work under way on Circuit 1 of MSETCL’s 400 KV Kalwa-Padgha GIS centre. The entire load was shifted to Circuit 2. But because there was a sudden technical glitch, large parts of Mumbai and Thane were affected,” Energy Minister Raut said in a video statement.
He added that there were multiple trippings on the Kalwa-Padghe and Kharghar lines and the transformers that supply power to Mumbai. Therefore, about 2,200 megawatts of power supply to Mumbai was disrupted.
He also said that electricity department officials and employees were working to restore power supply on a “war-footing”.
A statement from Thackeray’s office said, “The CM has taken serious note of the power outage in areas of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region and has ordered an immediate inquiry into the incident….He also directed to identify exactly what the technical issue that disrupted power supply to Mumbai was and who was responsible for it.”
Mumbai’s hospitals, especially those catering to Covid-19 patients, were unaffected during the power outage, as back-up generators were immediately activated and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) ensured adequate supply of diesel for hospitals in all of Mumbai’s 24 administrative wards, the civic body said.
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Why Mumbai is known for 24×7 power supply
Mumbai, unlike most parts of the country, is known for uninterrupted electricity supply and large-scale power outages in the city are rare.
Any disruptions in power supply are usually planned and anticipated on account of maintenance activities. These are mostly localised and communicated to residents in advance.
The city gets electricity from four distributors — the state-owned Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL), the civic-run Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking and private power distribution companies such as Tata Power and Adani Electricity.
The MSEDCL sources electricity from the state’s power generation company, while the rest source their needs from Tata Power’s electricity generation plants, Adani’s thermal power station at Dahanu and some from outside.
About 570 megawatts of Tata Power’s load, 440 megawatts of BEST’s load and 700 megawatts of Adani’s load tripped Monday, according to a statement from the shift-in-charge of the state load dispatch centre. The total demand Monday was 2,600 megawatts.
Mumbai boasts of 24×7 power supply largely due to an ‘islanding system’, which Tata Power designed in 1981.
The islanding system helps in intentionally isolating Mumbai’s power network during large external grid disturbances, allowing distribution companies to continue supply.
Power generating plants supplying electricity to Mumbai are equipped with islanding schemes to allow them to quickly restore any outage. However, with Mumbai’s increasing power demand, distribution companies have also had to rely on outside sources, gradually making islanding possible only for a portion of the city, usually essential service providers.
The system has been upgraded from time to time along with the BEST and Reliance Infrastructure, before Adani Electricity bought the company’s Mumbai power distribution business in 2017.
A statement from Adani Electricity said the company operated the islanding facility Monday “to continue power supply to vital installations with the help of the Dahanu Thermal Power Station”.
“We wish we had more power for which we are dependent on grid input. The power supplies to remaining consumers are being restored in phased manner…,” it added.
A statement from Tata Power said, “Restoration work is in progress to bring supply from the 3 Hydro units and Trombay units once the MSETCL transmission lines are connected. Inconvenience is regretted.”
The BEST undertaking noted that it had restored supply to 90 per cent of the affected areas under its jurisdiction by Monday afternoon.
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Past major power outages in Mumbai
There have been other instances in the past when Mumbai experienced major power outages.
In June 2018, there were massive power outages in suburban Mumbai as well as parts of Thane and Navi Mumbai due to a trip in the transmission grid at Kalwa, sparking a fire that damaged the cables of two out of three units. The disruptions in electricity supply continued sporadically for the next two to three days.
In September 2014, large parts of Mumbai reeled under severe power outage after a 500 MW electricity generation unit of Tata Power Company in Trombay tripped. Many parts of Mumbai’s island city too were affected, including large commercial areas such as Bandra Kurla Complex, Parel and Dadar.
In October 2011, south Mumbai, which has some of the city’s most plush areas, faced its worst blackout in a decade after a power cable at a substation of the BEST undertaking caught fire. Residents living in buildings, known as some of Mumbai’s costliest real estate, had to live in darkness for over 48 hours.
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What else can you expect in a poorly governed state where the CM and his cohorts are busy chasing amd bringing down homes of those who oppose their politics, where Sadhus are handed over to a murderous mob by the state police to be killed, where a ex navy person is attacked and seriously injured just because he shared a cartoon of the CM, where the police chief instead of concentrating on the poor law and order, the drug peddlers is fighting the TV news channels which are exposing him, where the ruling party’s mouthpiece Saamna is indulging in cheap, below the belt attacks on thier who do not concur with their views ? Where is governance ? Maha vikas Aghadi has nothing to do with governance. The parties are there for their own benefit. So what if there was black out in Mumbai today. The VIPs have their generator sets and makes no difference for their comforts. Who cares anyway for the common man. Certainly not this floundering, clueless rat tag bunch ruling Maharashtra.
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