Calls for curbs on transfer capacity, strict action against defaulters

One reason for the ‘world’s biggest blackout’ on July 30-31, which saw almost half of India go without power for almost six hours, was the shutdown of different circuits for upgradation work. This led to pressure on the West-North and West-East corridors for supply, an expert panel has said.

The findings of the panel, headed by Chairman of Central Electricity Authority A.S. Bakshi are likely to be presented to Parliament by Power Minister Veerappa Moily on Friday.

Sources told Business Line that one of the circuits in the 765 kv loop at Agra-Gwalior-Bina transmission line was switched off for upgradation since July 24. Another 400 kv double circuit near Kankorli in Rajasthan and Zerda in Gujarat was also shutdown on July 29, for polymer insulation change. These lines belong to the Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL).

Two more lines of 220 kv each, operated by the Madhya Pradesh Government, between Badood in Madhya Pradesh and Modak and Kota in Rajasthan were also shut down. This led to forced shortage and constraints in the entire system, sources said.

This also resulted in overload on the transmission lines between West and North and West and East, leading to grid collapse.

According to sources, the measures suggested by the panel to prevent such accidents include restriction in transfer capacity across the grid and strict action against defaulters.

Industry sources said it was not clear why PGCIL allowed upgradation of circuits when demand from the agriculture sector was high due to delayed monsoon.

High demand

In fact, according to power producers, the Northern Regional Grid experiences relatively high demand during July-August (paddy season) which was being partly met from generation in the other two regional systems, as intended through the inter-regional transmission system built for the purpose.

Three electricity grids – Northern, Eastern and North-Eastern – that transmit nearly 57,297 MW during peak hour, had collapsed.

This affected 20 States and two Union Territories. Restoration of power started after three-four hours.

(This article was published on August 16, 2012)
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