A gusty north-westerly gale played havoc in the western Odisha districts on Saturday night, snapping the power supply and plunging the districts into darkness.
Two units (210 MW each) of the IB thermal power station at Banaharpali, the 600 MW unit of Sterlite Energy dedicated for the State and the Burla hydro power station, tripped and went off the grid from 10.8 pm on Saturday. While Sterlite was able to synchronise its unit with the State grid at about 5 am, the two units of the State-owned IB thermal station were back on the system by Sunday evening after a gap of 18 hours.
The first unit was synchronised with the grid at about 5.55 am while the second unit had not been restored at the time of going to press.
According to Gridco sources, the system collapsed when lightning struck a grid substation at Rourkela, snapping power transmission. The sudden drop in load led to the automatic tripping of both the thermal power stations in Jharsuguda district and the hydro power stations in Sambalpur district. All seven units of Burla and two units of Chipilima hydro power station were out of the grid, resulting in a loss of cheaper power to the state.
As the system collapsed, all WESCO distribution areas of Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Deogarh, Bargarh, Sundergarh, Kalahandi, Bolangir and Subarnapur were plunged into darkness.
Reports from Sambalpur and Rourkela said that the gale caused damage to power distribution networks in many areas as it twisted the 11 KV and 33KV distribution lines.
Power supply could only be restored in phases and the restoration process continued till late in the evening. The gale accompanied by thundershowers brought down the temperature in the western Odisha districts, bringing power demand down by about 1000 MW. The morning demand for power in the State was 2100 MW as against an average demand of 2800 MW.