States overdraw power in peak hours

Shortage of power during peak hours has led states to overdraw power from the central grid.

With a 10–12 per cent peak hour shortage, there are frequent complaints of states overdrawing power, attracting fines imposed by the Union Power Ministry.

Currently, the western region is under-drawing power while the northern region is drawing in excess mainly for agricultural activities due to failure of monsoon, sources in the Power Ministry said. 

India has five electricity grids -- Northern, Eastern, North Eastern, Southern and Western. All but the Southern grid are inter-connected. These grids are being run by the state-owned Power Grid Corporation, which operates more than 95,000 circuit km of transmission lines. One circuit km refers to one kilometre of electrical transmission line.

Interestingly, the Southern grid has not faced a blackout since the one on September 11, 2001 due to grid collapse. The blackout triggered by an electrical fault, had had a cascading impact on all Southern states.

As per the Indian electricity code, the grid frequency should be 49.5-50.2 Hz. However, when the grid collapsed on Monday, frequency of northern grid at which electricity is transmitted was 50.46 Hz, which is above normal. This shows some states are over-drawing power, a senior official from Power Ministry said.

Widening gap

“Emerging demand-supply gap is the main reason behind this major breakdown. There is a need for comprehensive review of the power sector ... further reforms in the sector are needed,” FICCI Secretary General Rajiv Kumar said.

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