Power trips in Mumbai: Financial capital, adjoining areas face rare outage

Mumbai: Commuters seen waiting at Mulund Station as train services are disrupted due to power outage after a grid failure. Photo: ANI
The country’s financial capital came to a standstill on Monday morning, temporarily halting the city’s suburban rail services, disrupting work from home, and even trapping people inside elevators, as a technical failure hit power supplies. Electricity supply to hospitals was also interrupted, and telecom services in the city took a hit.

Executives at the stock exchanges and the airport, however, said operations remained unaffected.

The outage, that also hit adjoining areas of Mumbai, was attributed to a technical failure involving multiple tripping of power transmission lines and supply transformers. Restoration work started in phases at noon, with power restored in some areas post more than eight hours of outage.

In a series of tweets, state energy minister Nitin Raut said that with Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Company’s Kalwa-Padgha transmission line tripping, supply in Thane-Palghar and Navi Mumbai was cut-off, consequently, cascading the power failure to Mumbai-Thane and Mumbai suburban city.  Raut also added, a four member inquiry committee is set up with a mandate to examine cause of the power failure and to find out if it was caused due to negligence. 

Other than the state-run power distribution company, Mumbai metropolitan region (MMR) has three discoms — Adani Electricity (subsidiary of Adani Transmission), Tata Power, and Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport.

Tata Power, whose supply areas were impacted, saw its stock price close at Rs 52.85 a share, a decline of 2.94 per cent. Adani Transmission, however, did not see its scrip being impacted. Adani Electricity supplies to 2.9 million customers in Mumbai, making it the biggest discom for the city. Tata Power caters to 700,000 customers.

At 1 pm, Tata Power said supply had been fully restored. However, some of its consumers continued to report no power supply till late in the evening. By 2.30pm, Raut tweeted: “Power supply to all essential services in Mumbai, Mumbai suburbs, Kalyan, Thane, Palghar, and New Mumbai have been restored.”

Power System Operation Corporation in a flash report said the expected Mumbai load loss was 2,600 Mw. A Vodafone Idea spokesperson said the outage impacted mobile networks in some areas. “While all our critical sites and majority of the network has been working on back-up diesel generation sets, we expect full restoration as soon as the power grid is fully functional,” the spokesperson said.

Sources said the outage also hit Reliance Jio network. “Most of Jio’s network on the shared tower sites were down. These sites belong to tower companies and do not have generator sets or back up, as these are set up on rented space in buildings in the city,” sources said, adding majority of these sites were restored once power supply resumed.  

Mumbai’s municipal body Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said it was monitoring the status at all private and government hospitals to ensure their services continue unhindered. 

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray ordered a probe and directed officials to take precautions to avoid such incidents in future. A team comprising officials from the Central Electricity Authority would be sent to Mumbai to study the power breakdown and assist the state in finding solutions to such situations, Power Minister R K Singh said.

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