PM’s 9-min blackout call: Maha load dispatch centre says home appliances should be operational to ensure grid stability

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Published: April 5, 2020 12:16:00 AM

Maharashtra load dispatch centre has directed all power distribution companies in the state to urge consumers avoid switching off home appliances to ensure grid stability.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had appealed for a 9-minute blackout on April 5 at 9 pm.

Maharashtra load dispatch centre has directed all power distribution companies in the state to urge consumers avoid switching off home appliances to ensure grid stability. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal for a 9-minute blackout on April 5 at 9 pm is expected to result in a sudden drop in state demand in the range of 1,700-1,750 MW and an increase in system frequency that may impact grid stability.

Maharashtra state load dispatch centre (MSLDC) has instructed power generators and discoms to take immediate steps and be prepared with a mechanism from 8 pm to 10 pm to ensure uninterrupted supply of power and to maintain grid stability. State government-owned Mahavitaran is the largest power distributor in Maharashtra covering some parts of the megapolis and the rest of the state, while BEST is supplying power in the island city and Adani Energy and Tata Power supply electricity in suburban Mumbai.

Mahavitaran has also appointed Torrent Power and RPG Group’s CESC as input-based franchisees for three circles in the state to recover electricity bills from customers in these areas. These discoms have issued advisories to its customers through various social media platforms appealing their customers to only switch off residential lights and keep all other electrical appliances operational during the 9-minute blackout to ensure grid stability.

“If consumers choose to switch off their lights, then in the interest of maintaining grid balance, consumers are advised to keep on appliances like fans, ACs, refrigerators. Main switches and common lights of residential apartments or housing societies should not be switched off. All the capacitors at consumer end should be kept off,” Tata Power said in its advisory. Mahadiscom, in its appeal to customers, has said, “The electricity grid is robust and stable to handle this variation in demand.

All electrical appliances can remain operational during this period. Do not switch off from the main switch.” Meanwhile, the MSLDC has instructed all local bodies across the state as well as distribution firms to keep all the street lights on during the period and continue its supply to all the essential commercial establishments.

“We do not feel there will be a serious impact on the grid, but from our side we are taking all the necessary precautions and putting the systems in place to deal with any such eventualities,” an MSLDC official said. He further noted that since the country’s entire power system is connected on one grid, other states also need to ramp up their system to ensure complete grid stability.

Meanwhile, the Union power ministry has written to all state power secretaries to follow all the procedures for grid balancing during the period. In its action plan, the MSLDC noted that the blackout could result in a sudden drop in state demand in the range of 1,700-1,750 MW and result in an increase in system frequency.

It further said the reduction in the load may result in high system voltages across 400kV and 765kV, which may further result in increased voltages in the lower network. “To mitigate such a scenario and to operate the Maharashtra power system in safe, stable and secure manner, all generating companies should strictly adhere to the instructions and verify high/low frequency trip setting along with time delay setting if any and communicate the same to MSLDC,” it said.

As a backup plan, MSLDC has asked Tata Power and state power generator Mahagenco to keep their hydro power stations, having capacities of 477 Mw and 2,190 Mw, respectively, available for system operation for meeting the power demand soon after the nine minutes blackout.

Hydro power is an important tool for grid management during such events, which can be easily ramped up or down immediately as required, unlike the conventional sources of power or even wind and solar. “Besides, the gas power plant at Uran, which is currently operating at 261 MW shall be utilised to match demand during this condition in addition to hydro as per instructions of MSLDC,” it said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has appealed to 130 crore citizens to light a lamp, candle or shine a mobile flashlight to dispel the darkness spread by coronavirus.

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