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Probe ordered into Mumbai blackout

The Maharashtra government on Wednesday ordered an inquiry into the massive power outages in several parts of south and central Mumbai on Tuesday. The inquiry will be conducted by the state energy secretary within a week to fix responsibility and suggest short- and long-term measures to avoid such incidents in future.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said the decision to conduct a probe into the massive power cut was taken at the state Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. The state Cabinet has taken a serious cognisance of the power failure in Mumbai on Tuesday,” Chavan tweeted.

Tata Power’s Trombay plant has a generation capacity of 1,580 Mw. However, about 700 Mw of its capacity was not immediately available partly because of repairs and the request from BrihanMumbai Electric Supply & Transport (BEST) not to supply from unit 6, which runs on oil and gas.  

On its behalf, Tata Power MD Anil Sardana told reporters the problem did not pertain to Tata Power but of the power system in the city. He said the unit 5 tripped due to problem in the master furnace.

”While Unit-5 restoration work is still under progress, Unit-6 (also 500 Mw), which was on cold stand-by has been synchronised and is generating. There has been no loadshedding after about 9 pm on Tuesday. While power was available in neighbouring areas of Maharashtra, due to overloading of state transmission network, the distribution companies were not able to import power for Mumbai,” Sardana said.

Sardana said Tata Power has secured the environmental ministry nod for converting the oil and gas fired unit 6 to coal based generation unit. He, however, said there needs to be a political consensus before it begins work. Conversion work will take about 18 months and will cost about Rs 800 crore

Meanwhile, BEST, which is the distribution licensee and procures power from Tata Power, will soon approach the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) with a plea to conduct a thorough inquiry into the tripping of Tata Power’s unit 5, which led to power outages in its area of distribution. BEST will also appeal to MERC to impose heavy penalty on Tata Power for carrying out loadshedding in its distribution area.

BEST general manager O P Gupta said, “There should not be loadshedding due to gap between contracted power and demand. Whatever loadshedding was conducted by Tata Power after the tripping of unit 5 on Tuesday was totally unwarranted.”

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