(Eds: Updating) Mumbai, Oct 12 (PTI) A rare citywide power outage paralysed Mumbai on Monday, halting suburban train services, trapping people in lifts and disrupting work from home adopted by millions during the ongoing pandemic.
Power supply was restored in a bulk of localities in the city, with only the suburbs of Bhandup and Mulund served by state-run Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company within the municipal limits, and parts of those beyond, like Thane and Navi Mumbai continuing to be in darkness or experiencing erratic supply, officials said.
Maharashtra power minister Nitin Raut tweeted late in the evening, saying supply from Tata Powers 500 MW line could not be synchronised due to which the suburbs are facing difficulties.
Power restoration efforts began on a war footing earlier in the day, and pocket-wise resumption in supply got started around noon onwards, nearly two hours after the outage.
Trains services took two-and-a-half hours to resume operations, beginning with CR's Harbour Line.
The trains are carrying only essential services workers at present, which helped minimise the passenger inconvenience.
Both the Western Railway and Central Railway blamed the power cut from Tata Power (their power supplier) for the disruption in services.
With work-from-home (WFH) becoming the norm across the services sector, employee output was impacted as the homes do not have power back-ups like institutional bodies.
However, a few were not so lucky, like the employees working in an upscale business complex in central Mumbai who found themselves stuck in an elevator during times of social distancing.
After a few jittery minutes, they were evacuated.
In June 2018, there was a widespread power outage in the city and adjoining areas due to a technical glitch and also led to sustained period of load-shedding for some consumers.
In the evening, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray ordered a probe into the incident and also chaired a high- level meeting which was attended by the chief secretary and other officials.
Raut said the trouble on Monday emanated from Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Company (MSETCL) facilities during a planned maintenance work.
Tata Power, which is into both generation and distribution, attributed the outage to a simultaneous substation tripping at 1010 hrs at state-run transmission company MSETCL's two substations in the suburbs of Kalwa and Kharghar (Navi Mumbai).
Power outages were reported from suburbs like Thane, Panvel, Dombivili and Kalyan as well, along with those in the island city and the suburbs.
As the afternoon progressed, power supply at many pockets, including the Bandra Kurla Complex business district, Lower Parel, the western suburbs and South Mumbai, started resuming.
With the number of COVID-19 infections still very high and many patients recovering in hospitals, including specially -created facilities rendering services like oxygen supply, Mumbai Municipal Commissioner I S Chahal instructed staff to bolster diesel supply to last up to eight hours and also scout for mobile diesel generator vans which are used at film shoots as a standby.
An industry source said it took longer than expected for the power supply to resume because one of the two thermal power stations in the city and its vicinity, which have to act as a ready source as part of anislandingsystem to avert such situations, took longer to start generating power.
Raut said maintenance work was on in MSETCL's 400 kv Kalwa-Padgha line when the technical fault happened in circuit number 2, which was taking the entire load at the time as circuit 1 was shut.
MSETCL is responsible for getting power till the Kalwa substation from generating stations across the state, from where distribution companies like Tata Power and Adani Electricity take it to the consumers, the source said.
As part of islanding system, a thermal-based power plant each of Adani at Dahanu and Tata Power (Trombay) are expected to supply power.
Restoration work in is in progress to bring supply from the three hydro units and Trombay units once the MSETCL transmission lines are connected,a Tata Power statement said.
Adani Electricity Mumbai (AEML) distribution system operated islanding facility successfully and continued successfully power supply to vital installations with the help of Dahanu Thermal Power Station (DTPS).
'We wish we had more power for which we are dependent on grid input,' a statement from AEML said.
Efforts were mounted by officials from the discoms, along with those from Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Company and Power Grid Corporation.
It can be noted that economic activity is limping back to normalcy in many parts of the country as the COVID-19 unlock process is underway.
However, many restrictions are still in place due to the need for social distancing to curb further infections.
The BSE and the NSE, the benchmark stock exchanges, which are based in the city, also reported power outages, but added that their operations continued normally.
A spokesperson of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport said flight and other operations were normal.
People reported difficulties from both the internet service providers and telcos with issues like issues in call connections and internet or data connectivity being expressed.
However, the exact reasons for the same were not known.
Vodafone Idea's media briefing, which was scheduled to be held in Mumbai on Monday afternoon, was postponed after the power outage in the megapolis, a source said.
The University or Mumbai had to postpone graduate courses examination across streams as over 300 students of the 19,000, who were to take the exams, could not take it due to electricity outage, an official spokesman said. PTI AA KK ANS ENM ZA GK NSK RSY RSY