Power blackout: Regulator summons officials from 5 states; blame game begins

Power blackout: Regulator summons officials from 5 states; blame game begins
New Delhi:  A blame game has erupted among states over the unprecedented power outage on Tuesday that affected 600 million people - over half of the country's population. The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has reportedly summoned officials of five states, which drew more power than what had been allocated, leaving 19 states in the dark. The regulatory body has reportedly asked officials of the energy department from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir to personally appear before it on August 14.

Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, who will take charge of the Home Ministry today, said yesterday that some states were drawing electricity over and above their limits.

"This was creating problems," Mr Shinde said when asked what triggered the unprecedented simultaneous failure of Northern, Eastern and North Eastern Grids yesterday.

"This morning only, I was told (by officials) that about 3,000 MW extra power has been over drawn from the Eastern Grid. We have given the direction to either stop it (overdraw) or take action against them." he said in Delhi.

Punjab government rejected the blame of power overdraw from the northern grid leading to its collapse, claiming it was "minimum" compared to other states like Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.

Punjab's overdraw was a meager 1.2 per cent of its sanctioned load when the grid collapsed on Tuesday while Haryana's overdraw was a whopping 22.4 per cent and that of UP at 6.4 per cent, a state government spokesman said in Chandigarh.

The UP government said that taking into consideration the parameters at the time of grid failure, there was no reason that any power operations in the state triggered it.

The assertions by the SAD-BJP(Punjab) and Samajwadi(UP) governments came after Delhi accused UP, Haryana and Punjab of overdrawing power from the Northern Grid which led to the massive power outage.

The second blackout in two days also gave ammunition to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to target the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre.

"With poor economic management UPA has emptied pockets of common man, kept stomachs hungry with inflation & today pushed them into darkness!," Mr Modi wrote on Twitter.

"Pradhan Mantri ji, 60 crore people & 19 states are in darkness. Country wants to know is there any coalition dharma you are following here too?" he tweeted. Gujarat was among the unaffected states.

(With inputs from PTI)

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