New Delhi: The government on Saturday sought to assuage fears of electricity grid instability due to simultaneous switching on and off of most lights in the country, saying adequate protocols are in place to handle the variation in demand without causing any damage to appliances.
Modi on Friday urged people to switch off lights at their homes and light up lamps, candles or mobile phone torches for nine minutes at 9pm on Sunday to display the country’s “collective resolve” to defeat the coronavirus.
There have been concerns that the blackout may impact the electricity grid due a sudden drop in peak power demand, which was already down 25% at 125.81 GW on April 2 compared to a year ago.
“Some apprehensions have been expressed that this may cause instability in grid and voltage fluctuation, which may harm electrical appliances. These apprehensions are misplaced,” the Union Ministry of Power said in a statement, adding there is no call to switch off either street lights or appliances like computers, televisions, fans, refrigerators and air-conditioners in homes.
“There is no call to switch off street lights or appliances in homes. Only lights should be switched off,” it said. “The lights in hospitals and other essential services will remain on. Local bodies have been advised to keep street lights on for public safety.”
A power ministry spokesperson on Friday had said there would be no such impact on grid stability as everything has been taken care of, even as a senior official of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) urged citizens to keep all fans switched on to main grid stability.
Several states earlier shot off letters to power utilities to take steps to deal with the possibility of a sudden drop in electricity demand, which has already dipped by 25% to 125.81 gigawatts due to the lockdown shutting down most businesses.
Power System Operation Corp Ltd, the agency responsible for managing electricity grid, said the lighting load of household consumes may be no more than 12-13 GW.
“Unlike normal operation, this reduction in load of the order of 12-13 GW would happen in 2-4 minutes and recover nine minutes later,” it said. “This sharp reduction in load and recovery, which is unprecedented, will need to be handled through hydro and gas resources.”
Its gameplan of managing the sudden change in demand is to reduce hydro power generation during 6.10pm to 8pm on Sunday and conserve it for providing flexibility during the 9pm event. Also, coal-based generators as well as gas fired power stations would be scheduled in a manner so as to manage the peak demand.
The switching off of only lights may lead to about 10-15 GW of reduction in electricity consumption out of expected demand of 115-125 GW on Sunday, said bureaucrat and BJP MP Ashwini Vaishnav who served in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s PMO.
Union Power Secretary Sanjiv Nandan Sahai also wrote to heads of state power departments, saying “the National Load Despatch Centre has worked out the procedures for grid balancing during the period which they will be communicating to the regional and state load despatch centres separately”.
He said there is no call to switch off either street lights or appliances in homes. “Adequate arrangements and protocols are in place to handle the variation in demand. People should be assured not to worry and continue running all appliances as usual,” he added.
(With inputs from PTI)
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