More than 600 million people in 19 states went without electricity today after three major power grids tripped in quick succession.
The northern grid, which had collapsed yesterday, went down again at 1.30 pm followed by the eastern grid and the northeastern grid, triggering the crisis billed as the world’s largest outage.
However, power was restored to 50 percent of northeastern India and large parts of Delhi.
The Delhi metro stopped running for over an hour and some passengers were trapped insideuntil an emergency supply helped trains reach the nearest station.
The crisis was allegedly triggered after four states -- Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh -- drew much more than their assigned share of power.
"I have told states, who are using more power than they are meant to, to stop. They shall be punished," said Sushil Kumar Shinde, Minister for Power.
The states hit by the power crisis were Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim Tripura, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asked all government offices to shut early and urged the private sector and schools to do the same to protect against commuter chaos in the evening even though the metro was not affected in Kolkata.
A grid receives power from generation stations and passes it onto load centres, which is where distribution companies pick up their share and pass electricity onto consumers.
At grids, there has to be a careful balance between the supply and the amount of power collected.
A line can trip if more power is drawn than provisioned for and a grid needs mechanisms to ensure that if one line trips, it doesn't have a cascading or domino effect on the others.
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