PM’s 9 minute solidarity appeal: Switch off only lights, not other appliances

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 04, 2020

Power Ministry allays concerns over any grid collapse

The Ministry of Power has put to rest concerns about possible electricity grid collapse due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for switching off lights for 9 minutes on Sunday evening at 9 pm. This appeal had come from the Prime Minister to show solidarity of the country in the fight against COVID-19.

Any apprehensions that the switching off lights for 9 minutes may cause instability in the grid and thereby harm electrical appliances due to voltage fluctuations are misplaced, an official release said.

The electricity grid is robust and that instructions have been issued to state load dispatch centres to handle the fluctuations, the statement added.

The Ministry of Power has also made it clear that the lights in Hospitals and all other essential services like Public Utilities, Municipal Services, Offices, Police Stations, Manufacturing Facilities, etc will remain on. The call given by the Prime Minister is to just switch off lights in residences,the statement added.

This statement came after concerns were raised about the robustness of the electricity grid to withstand a sudden drop of around 12 GW to 15 GW of power demand at 9 PM on Sunday.

In a letter to State governments, the Ministry of Power said, "The appeal of honourable Prime Minister is to voluntarily switch off only the lights at 9:00 PM on April 5, 2020. There is no call to switch off either streetlights or appliances like TVs, Refridgerators and ACs in homes. Adequate arrangements and protocols are in place to handle the variation in demand. People shoule be assured not to worry and continue running all the appliances as usual."

The letter also said that the National Load Dispatch Centre has worked out the procedures for grid balancing during the period which they will be communicating to the Regional and State Load Dispatch Centres separately.

In an advisory to Load Dispatch Centres, the Power System Operation Cooperation Limited (POSOCO) said that there would be a sudden load reduction of around 12 GW - 13 GW and recover within 2-4 mins. This sharp reduction in load and recovery will need to be handled through tapping into hydropower and gas based power generation resources. These sources will balance the grid by quickly ramping up and then thermal power can resume its position in the energy mix.

PM Modi's call to switch off lights had raised multiple concerns about the ability of the sector to withstand this variation.

State load dispatch centres had drawn up contingency plans to handle this variation based on the capabilities of their transmission networks.

Published on April 04, 2020

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