New Delhi: Maharashtra Energy Minister Nitin Raut on Monday (March 1, 2021) said that the power outage in Mumbai in October 2020, was a cyber attack and that it was an act of sabotage.

Raut also said that the state government, the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) and the Central Electricity Authority had set up separate committees to probe the cause of the power outage and their reports have been received.

“We had then complained to the cyber cell and their report is awaited. But the preliminary information I have, there definitely was a cyber attack and it was a sabotage,” the Congress leader added.

The probe comes after a report claimed that the Mumbai power outage was a likely Chinese cyber attack, which took place amid the India-China border tension at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The report said that the Chinese government-linked group of hackers targeted India’s critical power grid system through malware. It also raised suspicion whether the massive power outage in Mumbai was a result of the online intrusion. 

“The electric grid computer has a pre-installed malware, which is often installed by China. Because of this, it gets the remote control of the computer system, which can turn it off and can also cause a complete blackout,” said Prashant Mali, a cyber expert.

However, back then, Tata Power had attributed the power outage to a simultaneous substation tripping at state-run transmission company MSETCL’s two substations in the suburbs of Kalwa and Kharghar. 

“Tata Power regrets the inconvenience caused to its consumers due to this unforeseen event in power failure due to the transmission system failure leading to the cascading impact to all downstream suppliers of electricity including Tata Power, BEST and its consumers,” said an official statement.

The statement added, “Based on the preliminary assessment of the situation, Tata Power would like to inform that today many parts of Mumbai experienced an unforeseen electricity failure starting at 10 am in the morning due to tripping of MSETCL’s 400 KV transmission system at Kalwa which supplies to Mumbai and adjoining areas.”

Notably, Mumbaikars had to face a huge problem as local trains and other essentials services were also affected for over two hours. Several petrol pumps were also shut down in the city due to power outage.

(With inputs from news agencies)

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