National grid failure Probe on to determine sabotage

07 October 2022

Staff Reporter :
The probe committee is determining whether there was sabotage behind the national power grid disaster or not. Besides, it was also looking for if any possible political links behind Tuesday's national power grid failure that triggered a countrywide 7-8 hour long blackout.
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid said this while talking to reporters during a press briefing held at the Secretariat on Thursday.
An initial investigation revealed that an imbalance between demand and supply in the eastern region of Bangladesh was behind the failure of the national power grid two days ago, sending much of the country into a blackout for about seven hours, he said.
No physical damage happened in the grid, the State Minister said adding that a probe committee of Power Grid Company of  Bangladesh (PGCB) was working on it while another committee from Power Division would also be formed soon, hoping that the report by the PGCB committee will come in 7 days.
Referring to the recent statement made by Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku, a member of BNP's standing committee, Nasrul said, "How does he (Tuku) knows that such power grid failure incidents will happen again in the future?
"We don't know for sure if any political links are responsible for the national grid failure. We are investigating the matter if the grid failure was a sabotage," he added.
Responding to queries from the reporters on why the massive power outage happened, he said that two of the distribution lines in the eastern front of the country tripped triggering a supply chain disruption which later affected the whole country.
"There was an imbalance between demand and supply in the eastern region of Bangladesh. The system dropped below the frequency range and the power system became unstable due to the under- frequency, causing the eastern power plants to trip. This caused the blackout. That is why it took hours to bring power back. We had to be very careful about the whole process," Nasrul Hamid said.
He, however, said it would take some more days to find out the exact reasons behind the power failure in the national grid.
 "Automation is the only option to avoid such disasters. More modern arrangements have to be made," he added.
He said, "We hope, within the next two years we will be able to complete the automation project and then chances of such grid failure will be reduced."
In a written statement, the State Minister said that there was a power shortage in the eastern region around 2pm on Tuesday and the western region was generating excess power.
He said that western region supplied 1,100 megawatts of electricity to the eastern region. During that time, two 230 KV circuits in Ashuganj and Sirajganj and two circuits in Ghorashal tripped, leading to the grid failure.
Nasrul Hamid, however, admitted that the development of the PGCB did not take place as it was expected due to Covid-19 pandemic.
"We could not implement many PGCB projects due to the Covid-19 situation. We have been two years behind the schedule of the implementation", he said, adding that a project for automation of the PGCB has been undertaken.
On Tuesday, National power transmission grid failed at 2:05pm - causing blackout across Bangladesh, except some parts of the north.
Following the grid failure, all power plants tripped one after another and electricity supply went off in Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet, Barisal, and Mymensingh divisions.
Later, an investigation committee of the state-owned PGCB started its probe on Wednesday to identify the reasons behind the national power grid failure.
They said the national grid failure originated in the direction of Ghorashal, Ashuganj and Sirajganj.
PGCB Executive Director and head of the investigation committee Md Yeakub Elahi Chowdhury said the size of power grid, which has expanded significantly over recent years, was making it more time consuming to pinpoint the exact cause of the nationwide blackout.
After a relentless effort of three hours, the PGCB first became successful in restoring power in Kalyanpur grid sub-station and then restored power supply in the president's official residence of Bangabhaban and Prime Minister's official residence of Ganabhaban at 5pm on Tuesday. Gradually, power supply was restored in other parts of the area and within 10:30pm, the entire country had electricity.
Bangladesh's biggest incident of national power grid failure happened on 1 November in 2014 when the entire country was without power for 17 hours.

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