National power grid failure: PGCB committee starts investigation

A salesman of a pharmaceutical shop uses his cellphone torch to find medicine to serve customers during a countrywide blackout in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 4 October, 2022Reuters

Investigation committee of the state-owned Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB) has started its probe to identify the reasons behind the national power grid failure that triggered a 7-8 hour long blackout across most of the country, starting at 2:05pm Tuesday, reports news agency UNB.

“We started our probe this morning (Wednesday) to identify the possible causes behind the national grid disaster and also the exact point of the incident,” Eakub Ehalhi Chowdhury, chief of the investigation body and executive director (P&D) of PGCB, told the news agency.

PGCB initially formed a five-member investigation committee, headed by Eakub Elahi Chowdhury, representatives from Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) and also from other power sector entities, following the national grid failure.

Later, an experienced individual who had been working as consultant with grid systems locally and internationally, was co-opted in the committee.

Vehicles are seen on the street during countrywide blackout in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 4 October, 2022

Eakub informed that the committee will visit substations and power stations and other relevant facilities to identify the reasons behind the grid-collapse.

Official sources said the investigation committee was given three days’ time to complete the probe.

“It might take more time to reach a conclusion, as this involves a lot of technical issues of the grid system,” Eakub told UNB.

Meanwhile, state minister Nasrul Hamid instructed the ministry of power, energy and mineral resources to form two more investigation committees to identify the cause of the grid failure and also gave recommendations to avert any further disaster in future.

The two committees are yet to be formed, said an official of power division.

PGCB and BPDB officials believe that Tuesday’s grid disaster started from somewhere in Ashuganj-Sirajganj interconnecting transmission line that led to a colossal shutdown of power plants across the country.

After a relentless effort of three hours, PGCB first became successful in restoring power in Kalyanpur grid sub-station and then restored power supply in the president’s official residence, Bangabhaban, and prime minister’s official residence, Gonobhaban, by 5:00pm.

Gradually, power supply was restored in other parts of the area and within 10:30pm, the entire country had electricity.

PGCB officials said the country’s power supply demand was relatively lower at around 8500 MW on Tuesday as the weather was not hot.

Bangladesh’s biggest incident of national power grid failure happened on 1 November in 2014 when the entire country was without power for 17 hours.