Excessive demand crashes electric grid in northern India- 370 million left without power in sweltering heat

Monday, July 30, 2012
By Paul Martin

July 30, 2012

INDIA – A massive power cut has caused disruption across northern India, including in the capital, Delhi. It hit a swathe of the country affecting more than 300 million people in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan states. Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said most of the supply had been restored and the rest would be reinstated soon. It is unclear why the supply collapsed but reports say some states may have been using more power than authorized. Mr. Shinde said he had appointed a committee to inquire into the causes of the blackout, one of the worst to hit the country in more than a decade. The committee will submit its report within 15 days, he said. The power cut happened at 02:30 local time on Monday (2100 GMT Sunday) after India’s Northern Grid network collapsed. Mr. Shinde told the BBC that he had been informed about the problem at 05:30. “Within two hours we tried to restore the railways, airport and Delhi Metro services and power supply to essential services, including the railways and hospitals, was restored by 08:00.” The minister said the exact reason for the collapse had not yet been pinpointed but, in the summer, “states try to take more power from the grid” and at the time of the collapse, the grid frequency was “above normal.” That is one of the reasons why the grid failed,” he said. By early afternoon, 80% of the supply had been restored, Mr. Shinde said. –BBC

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