EREB To Seek Extension For ABT

Kolkata, November 29: | Updated: Nov 30 2002, 05:30am hrs
The Eastern Regional Electricity Board (EREB) has decided to request the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) to consider deferring the implementation of availability-based tariff (ABT) in the East for three months despite deterioration in grid frequency profile.

The decision was taken at the EREB meeting held Wednesday evening at Jharkhand capital Ranchi and presided over by its current chairman JC Jetli, who is also the chairman of DVC.

Other members present were Jharkhand State Electricity Board (SEB) chairman Rajiv Ranjan, Bihar SEB chairman KA Subramanian, West Bengal SEB chairman Dr GD Gautama, West Bengals power secretary Dr KK Bagchi, Jharkhands power secretary SR Prasad, Power Trading Corp chairman and managing director TN Thakur, West Bengal Power Development Corps managing director Birenjit Pal and representatives of National Thermal Power Corp, National Hydroelectric Power Corp, Chukha Hydel Power Project, Gridco, Sikkim and Power Grid Corp of India.

The CERC insisted that the old system of monthly energy accounting on total power drawal be replaced by ABT from January 1 next year to improve the grid discipline and supply quality as well as to bring in economy in the whole system, including generation. ABT is expected to prevent grid collapses caused by overdrawal (which causes grid frequency to fall) or oversupply (which causes frequency to rise).

The EREB will now request CERC to defer the date to April 1, citing the crisis being faced by Damodar Vally Corporation (DVC) following the November 11 fire in its central load despatch (CLD) centre at Maithon in Jharkhand and inadequate infrastructure in Bihar and Jharkhand, power sector sources said. The fire completely gutted the CLD centre and DVC is not able to monitor their own generation and the power they are drawing from the central sector. DVC has assured the EREB members that they were taking necessary steps to restart the CLD centre in four months so that ABT could be implemented from April 1. The ABT system has already been implemented in the west, while the north is to follow it from December 1 and the south from January 1.

The grid frequency profile in the east has deteriorated during the current year compared to last year. The system frequency remained between 48.5Hz and 51.5Hz for 84.3 per cent of the time in a day and above 51.5Hz for 12.3 per cent of the time. The figures during the period last year were 90.8 and 7.8 per cent.

This was mainly due to marginal demand growth in the region as well as due to inadequate backing down of generation by the thermal units.

There are technical reasons too -- the utilities do not have the equipment to meet quick changes, and they are heavily dependent on thermal generation. When contacted, WBSEB chairman Dr Gautama said the equipment of both the power stations and industrial units were taking a lot of beating due to wide power fluctuations and therefore the need to bring about discipline in the grid was paramount. Some of the constituents had not installed under frequency relays (UFR) in their system as recommended by the committee set up after the last major grid collapse in eastern region on July 25, 2000, Mr Jetli has complained. UFRs are required for emergency load shedding to save the grid from total or partial collapse.

Due to inadquate response from BSEB, PowerGrid had installed UFR in its Purnea substation for bulk load shedding at 47.6Hz. It is now kept bypassed, sources said.