States fail to submit plans for islanding power facilities

Except Delhi, all other states have failed to submit proposals to the power ministry for setting up islanding facilities around essential services in their major cities, despite the Centre’s direction to that effect following the northern grid failure in 2012.

The July 2012 grid failure –which paralysed life in many states and hit nearly half of the country’s population-, prompted the Centre to ask for plans to ensure that such sudden failures should not imperil essential services like the railways, metro trains, hospitals and drinking water.

Delhi had been the only state to meet the May 2013 deadline to submit the proposal, while Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, which had also been asked to submit their proposals for islanding facilities-, have missed the dates, a senior power ministry official told Deccan Herald.

In its proposal, the Delhi government wants islanding facilities fencing VVIP areas and manor installations like the police headquarters, hospitals, metro rail network and Indira Gandhi International airport.

Islanding facilities are meant to isolate power installation from the major grids when fluctuations occur, preventing total collapse. Disconnected from the grid, these installations can be used to re-energise the city’s power generation and ensure continuation of power supply to essential services.

Islanding facilities in cities allow power to be drawn from their own generation stations by cutting its transmission network with the national grid (from which it usually draw power) if they are hit by technical snags.

The power ministry has also proposed to set up gas based power projects to ensure continuous power supply to the cities during failures or as an alternative to coal-based projects. The ministry said it has taken several steps to prevent massive power grid failures such as automatic load shedding.

Besides, the regional and state load despatch centres -- which keep a tab on the load available on the grids -- are advising utilities to check overloading in the network.

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