Lucknow, July 31 (IANS) Was Uttar Pradesh at the heart of the power crisis that plunged 600 million people across the country into darkness Tuesday? Even as the central government and experts poured over the possible reasons, power officials in the state denied any blame.
While most officials refused to come on record and claimed that it was Congress-ruled Rajasthan that was overdrawing about 1,000 MW Tuesday when the grid suddenly collapsed, Principal Secretary (Energy) and Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) chairman Anil Kumar Gupta told IANS that records categorically ruled out Uttar Pradesh as the villain.
"This allegation, if at all being levelled by someone, is misplaced as when the Northern and Eastern grid collapsed Tuesday, the state was only drawing 40 MW from the grid," he said, adding "machines never lied and so my statement based on facts could be checked by who so ever felt like".
Even in cases when Uttar Pradesh was drawing upto 2,000 MW, Gupta said that there was never a problem.
Officials at Shakti Bhawan, the power headquarters of the state, blamed the Northern Regional Load Despatch Centre (NRLDC) for the mess and said that in case, certain states were overdrawing, the NRLDC, manned by over 1,000 personnel had the "master control" to switch off "either that particular section or even the entire state".
"If they had witnessed such an overdraw, why did they not act," questioned a senior power official.
He also pointed out that like on Sunday night, this snag was not reported from Agra and infact had cropped up somewhere between the Singaruli and Bihar lines, lines belonging to the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL).
Uttar Pradesh's power structure however remains in a perpetual mess through successive governments, with the state relying heavily on overdraws.
Facing a shortfall in power supply to the tune of over 2,000 MW, state officials say the problem was largely due to the financial mess and debt they have inherited from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) regime. With a whopping Rs.10,000 crore in outstanding dues, informed sources told IANS that the situation indicates similar or bigger trouble.
The BSP government in 2011 purchased power worth Rs.2,000 crore to handle the power crisis between July and September. But the bills were not cleared, leading to an additional burden for the UPPCL, an official said.
Officials also said before the grid failure, the state's power system of Uttar Pradesh was stable without any emergency condition. The grid frequency, which should be in the range of 49.5 and 50.2, was 49.7. Overdraw at this time was bare minimum at around 40 MW.
As to the cause of grid failure, Gupta said: "Taking into consideration the parameters at the time of grid failure, there is no reason to believe that any power operations in Uttar Pradesh triggered it."
"Power swing is suspected on account of some transmission line tripping, causing grid failure. It requires further investigation to ascertain the real cause," he added.