Nasrul: Initial probe suggests under-frequency caused Tuesday’s grid failure

The state minister, however, said it would take some more days to find out the exact reasons behind the power failure

State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid on Thursday said that an initial investigation revealed that an imbalance between demand and supply in the eastern region of Bangladesh was behind the failure of the national power grid two days ago, sending much of the country into a blackout for about seven hours.

“There was an imbalance between demand and supply in the eastern region of Bangladesh. The system dropped below the frequency range and the power system became unstable due to the under frequency, causing the eastern power plants to trip. This caused the blackout,” he said.

The state minister, however, said it would take some more days to find out the exact reasons behind the power failure.

Nasrul Hamid made the remark in a press conference held at the Secretariat.

He said: “Automation is the only option to avoid such disasters. More modern arrangements have to be made,” he added.

Also Read - Grid failure: Initial probe suspects three points of origin

In a written statement, the state minister said that there was a power shortage in the eastern region around 2pm on Tuesday and the western region was generating excess power. 

Western region supplied 1,100 megawatts of electricity to the eastern region. During that time, two 230 KV circuits in Ashuganj and Sirajganj and two circuits in Ghorashal tripped, leading to the grid failure, he added.

But the state minister said no physical damage happened in the grid. 

He said a probe committee of Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB) was working on it while another committee from Power Division would also be formed soon, hoping that the report by the PGCB committee will come in 7 days.

Responding to a question, he referred to remarks by BNP leader Iqbal Hasan Mahmud, a BNP leader and former state minister for power, and said it would be investigated if the grid failure was a sabotage.

Also Read - PGCB panel starts probe into national grid failure

He said how Iqbal Mahmud knows that such incidents of grid failure would take place in the future too.

Nasrul Hamid, however, admitted that the development of the Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB) did  not take place as it was expected due to Covid-19 pandemic.

“We could not implement many PGCB projects due to the Covid-19 situation. We have been two years behind the schedule of the implementation”, he said, adding that a project for automation of the PGCB has been undertaken.

“We hope, within the next two years we will be able to complete the automation project and then chances of such grid failure will be reduced,” he added.

On Tuesday, National power transmission grid failed at 2:05pm – causing blackout across Bangladesh, except some parts of the north.

Also Read - Bangladesh sees biggest power outage in 8 years, second in 5 years

Following the grid failure, all power plants tripped one after another and electricity supply went off in Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet, Barisal, and Mymensingh divisions.

Only a few districts in the Rangpur division were out of the power failure, said a top official of PGCB.

Later, an investigation committee of the state-owned PGCB started its probe on Wednesday to identify the reasons behind the national power grid failure.

They said the national grid failure originated in the direction of Ghorashal, Ashuganj and Sirajganj.

PGCB Executive Director and head of the investigation committee Md Yeakub Elahi Chowdhury said the size of power grid, which has expanded significantly over recent years, was making it more time consuming to pinpoint the exact cause of the nationwide blackout.