Sunday, 4 December, 2022

Country faces major blackout

Malfunction at a substation of Ghorasal power hub may have caused the outage

Country faces major blackout
Many parts of the country witness a blackout following the national power grid failure on Tuesday. – SUN PHOTO

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The country faced a major electricity blackout on Tuesday starting from 2:04 pm, affecting industrial production, telecommunications and daily life across the country.

The blackout affected Dhaka, Chattogram, Mymensingh, Sylhet and partially other major parts of the eastern region.

“Primarily, we suspect that the blackout has been caused by the installation of interconnection in two grid sub-stations at Ghorasal Power Hub in Narsingdi,” Power Secretary Md Habibur Rahman told the Daily Sun.

''We are trying to identify the reasons behind the blackout," he added.

At the time of filing this report, electricity supply has been restored in many areas in the city including Mirpur, Moghbazar, Madartek, Rampura, Gulshan, Ulan, Bashundhara, Uttara, Aftabnagar, Banasree, Dhanmondi (Partial), Adabar, Sher-E-Bangla Nagar, Tejgaon, Mintu Road, Motijheel, Shyampur, Pagla and Postogola.

In a Facebook post, State Minister for Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid requested everyone to be patient as engineers and technicians are working tirelessly to restore the power supply. 

According to Power Division, the power grid has partially restored the supply of electricity in Tangail, Kishorganj, Mymensing, Jamalpur, Manikganj, Dhaka, Chattogram, Sylhet and Narayanganj.

The blackout occurred a day after the government declared 29 organisations including the Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB) as critical infrastructures.

The PGCB is responsible to maintain the grid electricity supply.

BGMEA Director Md. Mohiuddin Rubel said the production cost in apparel factories has jumped significantly due to Tuesday’s power outage as factories had to purchase additional diesel to continue production. 

Mobile phone users have also experienced disruption in telecommunication services due to the prolonged power outage. 

In a statement, the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB) said, “Due to national power grid failure, telecommunication services may disrupt in some parts of the country. We are sorry for the inconvenience.”

Electricity supply to Ganabhaban has been restored after three hours of the blackout while electricity supply to Bangabhaban has been restored after three and a half hours.

Besides, the supply of electricity to Dhaka Medical College has been restored at 7:15 pm five hours into the blackout. “We are restoring the power supply in phases,” DPDC managing director Bikash Dewan told the Daily Sun.

Dhaka Electric Supply Authority is also restoring the supply. “We have restored the supply of electricity to Shahajalal International Airport at 5:18 pm,” DESCO Managing Director Kawser Amir Ali told the Daily Sun on Tuesday.

He also informed electricity supply to the diplomatic zone has also been restored, adding that the power supply is expected to be fully restored on Tuesday night.

Bangladesh experienced a major blackout in November 2014. Another blackout took place in 2007 after a cyclone knocked out the national grid for several hours.

Tuesday’s blackout began at about 2:04 pm and continued for over three hours.

The PGCB officials identified the point of blackout after around three hours. The PGCB instantly supplied backup power to the Asuganj power station and Ghorasal Power station from the Baghabari Power plant, which is mainly runs on liquid fuel.

Most of the 129 power-producing units in the eastern zone were shut due to the blackout, sources said.   

Dhaka's hospitals and its international airport used emergency generators to continue their operation. Water supplies were also badly hit as most of the pumps which lift groundwater could not function.

State minister for power and energy Nasrul Hamid told the Daily Sun, “I have instructed to form two committees including an independent committee to find out the reason behind the blackout.”