Friday May 06 2022

NEPRA slaps Rs50m fine on NTDC over nationwide blackout in Jan 2021

Image showing some power grids. — Reuters/File
Image showing some power grids. — Reuters/File

  • NTDC was slapped with fine by NEPRA over power system collapse on January 9, 2021, that plunged country into darkness.
  • Decision taken after inquiry committee presented a detailed report to NEPRA.
  • Regulator says they have also “initiated legal proceedings against concerned power plants for their lapses, deficiencies and failure”.

ISLAMABAD: The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) slapped an Rs50 million fine on National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) over its “failure to restore power supply in a timely manner” when the system collapsed in January of last year, said a statement issued by the regulator.

The regulator noted when the power system collapsed on January 9, 2021, the NTDC took close to 20 hours to restore the system.

NEPRA said that it had taken “serious notice” of the power failure and had formed an inquiry committee to “thoroughly investigate the matter” under the body’s laws, rules and regulations.

Read more: Massive power outage in Pakistan as several cities plunge into darkness

“The committee conducted the said inquiry and presented a detailed report to the authority, on the basis of which the authority initiated legal proceedings against NTDC,” said the regulator.

NEPRA said that it had sent the company an explanation on April 1, 2021 “under Rule 4(1) of the NEPRA (Fines) Rules 2002” and a show-cause notice as well on August 25, 2021, under “Section 27B of the NEPRA Act”.

“Moreover, an opportunity of hearing was also granted to NTDC on January 12, 2022, however, NTDC failed to provide any satisfactory response and was found guilty of violating relevant provisions of the Grid Code. Therefore, the authority has imposed a fine of Rs50 Million on NTDC,” said the statement.

Read more: After major breakdown, power being gradually restored in cities across Pakistan

The regulator also said that they have “initiated legal proceedings against the power plants concerned for their lapses, deficiencies and failure” when the breakdown occurred last year. It added that the power plants were being dealt with separately under the same process.

Major breakdown witnessed across country

On January 9 of last year, a major power breakdown had plunged the entire country into darkness, the then federal minister for energy Omar Ayub Khan had confirmed in a statement.

The blackout occurred minutes before midnight across the country, and citizens had taken to social media to report outages. As outages hit major cities, mobile and internet services were also affected.

The energy minister had said back then that the power breakdown occurred when the frequency in the NTDC suddenly fell from 50 to zero.

The power was restored across the country gradually when the breakdown occurred.