Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday requested the citizens to switch off electric lights at homes for nine minutes at 9 p.m. on April 5, as a result of showing a collective determination to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the unique initiative has prompted energy authorities to swing into action.
Energy authorities under the action
According to the reports, the power ministry officials and grid management authorities turned into action immediately after Modi addressed the nation on Friday morning. “Power Minister R K Singh has discussed the issue with Power Grid Corp of India Ltd and load dispatcher (POSOCO) in today’s meeting. They are up to the task and are confident of managing the grid stability for the event,” said officials.
The source said, ‘since the event is known in advance, steps can be taken to guarantee that the grid is not affected. The demand is expected to reduce by about 15 GW during the nine minutes. Accordingly, measures to plan to reduce the electricity generation for about an hour before the event and increase it slowly later will be taken by POSOCO.
It is noted that after Modi’s address, experts in the power industry expressed concerns about grid resistance. Experts said decreasing power generation to cope with the nationwide nine-minute shutdown and raising it within such a short period will be a challenging task for grid operators and threatens its stability.
However, the sources further said that though the situation calls for notice, it is not alarming and the grid operators are well prepared to handle a sudden drop in power demand.
“Considering the need for pan India lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic, Peak Demand in the country is already lower by about 20 percent. So, the national and regional load dispatch centers are already grappling with low demand a further drop on April 5, should not be a problem that can’t be handled with ease,” the official said.
As per power ministry data, on April 2, 2020, the maximum power demand met in the country stood at 1,25,817 ME, almost 20 percent lower than April 2, 2019 figure of 1,68,326 MW.
India’s grid is connected as a wide area synchronous grid nominally running at 50 Hz. The permissible range of the frequency band is 49.95-50.05 Hz, as per CERC. The Union Government regulates grid frequency through national and regional load dispatch centers. States regulate intra-grids through State Load Despatch Center (SLDC).