Pakistan saw a country-wide power blackout on May 16 where almost all areas were left with no electricity for hours. In this regard, an inquiry committee was made to determine the cause of the hours-long power outage. The committee presented its fact-finding report to the outgoing government two days before its tenure ended.
However, the government, expecting a backlash and possible negative influence for them in the upcoming elections, decided to seal the report and hide it from the public.
The committee found the cause of the blackout to be a faulty switchyard at 747MW Guddu power plant. This fault in the switchyard led to the tripping of the power plants in the entire Northern region including the 1,200MW Haveli Bahadur Shah (HBS) (Jhang) plant. As a result, the entire Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces including other areas of the country spent several hours without any electricity at all.
The fault also isolated the entire North region from the South. The companies then observed forced load-shedding to avoid any further trippings at other power plants.
An official from the Power Division said;
The fault caused deletion of as many as 2,800MW from the system within 30 seconds. Later its cascading effect traveled further and hit the recently inaugurated 1,200MW HBS plant after its frequency didn’t set, match or absorb the transmission and grid system frequency. Resultantly the frequency dipped to 45.5, playing havoc with the other plants and transmission and distribution lines that started tripping one by one.
The official talking about the HBS plant added;
The government needs to have extra safety measures at HBS and all other new plants to avoid such incidents in future.
The report further recommended upgrading the protection system in the North to avoid power failures in future.
Before the report, the officials in the Power Ministry were of the view that tripping at 500kV/220kV double circuit Guddu-Muzaffargarh and DG Khan transmission lines caused the massive blackout.