Grid failure: PGCB blames over-consumption tendency, non-coordination for blackout

The main task of the four new committees will be to find those who disregarded the warnings of the load dispatch centre

Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB) Executive Director and head of its investigation committee Md Yakub Ilaihi Chowdhury has identified an unhealthy competition to draw more electricity and the lack of coordination between the power sector components as the key reasons behind the national grid blackout on October 4.

When there is a deficit in electricity generation, every distribution company needs to manage as per availability, he has said. 

“The problem begins when everyone wants to take more power than the allotted amount. That's where our main problem lies. Then a line tripped in Ghorashal. There were two other reasons for this power failure. I have highlighted all these reasons in our investigation report,” he told Dhaka Tribune.

Every organisation, including Desco, DPDC, PDB and REB, has been consuming more electricity than the allotment. “We have mentioned how and why they did so,” the PGCB probe body chief said. 

Based on his report, submitted on Sunday, the government suspended two engineers of the PGCB. The seven-member probe body was formed immediately after the blackout that plunged the country into darkness for around seven hours in what was the biggest outage since 2014.

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, State Minister for Power Nasrul Hamid said recently. 

“We have mentioned the origin of the problem. On that basis, the ministry identified the officials and suspended them. Now the authorities will assess to what extent they were responsible,” Md Yakub said.

On Monday, the ministry ordered the formation of four investigation committees by the four distribution companies in question. The other probe body, formed by the ministry, has not submitted its report, according to sources.

According to primary findings, the distribution companies were asked by the National Load Dispatch Centre (NLDC) on the day of the grid failure to draw less power. But not doing that led to the grid failure. The main task of the new committees will be to find those who disregarded the instructions of the NLDC.

Asked how such massive outages could be averted in future, the PGCB chief said there are many divisions in the power sector now and everyone should listen to one another to fine tune their sense of responsibility.

“We need more coordination among ourselves. Besides, various administrative solutions were recommended in the investigation report,” he told Dhaka Tribune.