VISAKHAPATNAM: Power generation came to a halt at the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Simhadri in Visakhapatnam following a glitch in the power grid early on Tuesday. Each plant has a capacity to generate 500 MW of thermal power.
Sources at the plant said a technical problem in the grid led to the breakdown of all units at 3:30 am. As a result, the electricity supply was affected till 6 am in the district. Officials could resume power generation at one of the unit, only by Tuesday night, which was then synchronised with the grid. The operations at Hinduja plant, which generates 1,000 MW power, were also affected too.
Speaking to TNIE, Eastern Power Distribution Company Limited (EPDCL) CMD K Santosh Rao said power was first restored at railway electric traction and Indian Navy. Later, Simhachalam was then prioritised in view of Chandanotsavam.
“The power supply trip might have happened due to lightning at the 400 kV substation. The exact reason will be known only after an expert team takes up a detailed study into the incident,’’ Rao noted. While the entire State draws 900 MW of power from NTPC-Simhadri, the rest of the power is supplied to Visakhapatnam district. EPDCL senior engineer Mahendranath told TNIE they arranged for power from one of the two circuits at Maradam 400 kV substation in Vizianagaram.
“Whenever there is a breakdown, it is mandatory that electricity is supplied from alternative grids. Currently, we are drawing 900 MW from Maradam sub-station to meet the shortfall,” the SE said.
Elaborating on the technical snag, the senior engineer said, “If there is a disturbance in the line, there will be a sudden drop in the bulk load. This will result in a sudden rise of voltage. To arrest the voltage, circuit breakers automatically trip which further results in power generation being disrupted. This is a standard security measure as otherwise the entire plant will collapse.’’
He explained that the protective measures of the Transmission Corporation of Andhra Pradesh (APTRANSCO), in such cases, help limit disruption to a particular area with zero interruption in power supply to the entire State and southern grids.Mahendranath said, “The advanced load controlling method confined the electricity outage in Visakhapatnam district only. There was no problem in East Godavari, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts.’’
Terming the issue unanticipated, the official said such an incident has happened for the first time. He added, “Power supply was disrupted at 3.20 am after which power was drawn from Maradam at 4.06 am. Within 40 minutes, electricity was restored to dairy farm units and 220 KV substation and 132 KV feeder lines. Later, power was supplied to areas in Simhachalam. Electricity was restored in the city and rural areas simultaneously before 6 am.’’
Consumption rose by 70%
The SE noted that the sharp rise in domestic power consumption in summer was mainly due to the extensive use of fans and air conditioners. “In zone-1 of the city, domestic power consumption was 1.9 MU in February. It has gone up to 3 MU in April, a 70 per cent rise. While a ceiling fan consumes 100 Watts, air conditioners consume 2,000 Watts. This is resulting in 20 times rise in power consumption in a house,’’ he added. After a power holiday was announced for industries, he said there has been a 20 per cent drop in industrial consumption in the district which was being diverted to the domestic sector.