Numerous power outages reported in the northern region as electricity demand surges to 89.4 GW

On a scorching Monday, Northern India faced a significant power crisis as multiple-tripping incidents were reported, leading to widespread outages. The power demand shot up to an unprecedented 89.4 gigawatts (GW), creating a supply gap of 16.5 GW. This article delves into the details of the incident, its impact on various states, and the response from government and organizations.

Background Information

The Northern Regional Load Despatch Centre (NRLDC), a key component of the National Load Despatch Centre (NLDC) under the Union Ministry of Power, is responsible for the scheduling and dispatch of electricity across inter-regional links. This incident highlights the critical role NRLDC plays in maintaining grid stability, especially during extreme weather conditions like the ongoing heatwave in North India.

Details of the Power Demand Surge

The heatwave conditions pushed the power demand to 89.4 GW, significantly higher than usual. This sudden surge created a supply gap of 16.5 GW, straining the grid’s capacity and leading to multiple-tripping incidents.

Affected States

The states impacted by this power crisis include Haryana, Delhi, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Jammu & Kashmir. Each of these states experienced varying degrees of power outages, affecting millions of residents and businesses.

The Incident Timeline

At 13:53, the northern region experienced a dramatic reduction in load by 16.5 GW. This reduction followed the tripping of both bipoles of the +/-800 kV HVDC Champa (Western Region) – Kurukshetra (Northern Region) link, which was transporting 4,500 MW from the Western to the Northern Region. The immediate aftermath saw low voltages across the northern grid and a substantial load reduction.

Technical Aspects of the Tripping

The HVDC Champa-Kurukshetra link is a critical component of the power transmission network. Its tripping led to low voltage issues, which further exacerbated the situation. Additionally, the 765/400 kV Aligarh station experienced a partial outage due to the tripping of five 765 kV lines.

Impact on Power Stations

The incident caused hydro generating units at Bhakra, Karcham, Sainj, and Ranjit Sagar Dam, totaling 1,237 MW, to trip. Similarly, thermal generating units at Lalitpur, Rajwest, Unchahar, and Panipat, with a combined capacity of 1,250 MW, were also affected.

Restoration Efforts

Efforts to restore power began immediately. Load restoration was gradual, considering the low voltage and high loading on the 765 kV Agra-Gwalior lines. By 14:30 hours, the system load was nearly back to normal, and by 16:00 hours, all tripped transmission elements were restored.

Government and Organizational Responses

The All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) responded swiftly, urging the government to recognize the heatwave as a natural calamity. In a letter to the government, AIPEF suggested changing office timings and implementing peak load restrictions on industries to mitigate the situation.

Short-Term Measures

To address the immediate crisis, AIPEF proposed that office hours be shifted to 7 am – 2 pm and commercial establishments close by 7 pm. These measures aim to reduce peak power demand and alleviate pressure on the grid.

Mid-Term Solutions

For the mid-term, improvements in infrastructure and policy changes are essential. Upgrading transmission lines and enhancing the capacity of existing power stations can help prevent future incidents.

Long-Term Strategies

Long-term strategies focus on enhancing grid stability and incorporating sustainable energy solutions. Increasing the share of renewable energy in the power mix can provide a more stable and resilient grid, reducing dependency on thermal power.

The Importance of Preparedness

This incident underscores the importance of preparedness. Learning from these events and implementing robust preparedness strategies can help mitigate the impact of similar crises in the future.


The power crisis in Northern India serves as a stark reminder of the challenges posed by extreme weather conditions and the increasing demand for electricity. By taking immediate, mid-term, and long-term measures, the region can enhance its resilience and ensure a stable power supply for its residents and industries.

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