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Grid failure: States told to put in place ‘islanding’ system

According to reports, the Centre wants States to implement an ‘islanding’ mechanism to prevent the kind of grid failures that left much of North, East and North-East India without power for two days last week.

But it failed to come up with a deterrent mechanism to penalise errant States.

Power Minister Veerappa Moily indicated that ‘confidence and trust’ within the States would prevent repeat of such accidents.

“States will prepare their islanding schemes in consultation with the PowerGrid, the Central Electricity Authority and the Northern Regional Power Committee within three months and ensure their implementation in the next six months,” the Minister told media persons on Monday after meeting the States that re constitute the Northern Grid.

The Government would work on setting up a mechanism for islanding services for agriculture. But priority is for metro, mining and other important utility services, he said.

Industry observers say islanding is not easy to implement. Today, southern India is isolated because it is not part of the National Grid. But once the grids are connected, as proposed, it would become difficult to island it, sources explained.

Asked if States would be penalised if found guilty of over-drawing, Moily said it was a “hypothetical question”.

The meeting concluded with a 12-point resolution, which everyone has promised to adhere to, he said.

“This is a resolution mutually agreed with all States. Everybody with a proper understanding and with ‘trust’ agreed to this. Enforcement should be accompanied with compliance. Series of warning didn’t help. So, we have taken a different route. This is a new route and new milestone,” he asserted.

According to the resolution, all States shall ascertain preparedness of power system defence plan and co-operate at the regional level for coordinating their protection systems. Independent third party audit of protection systems shall be carried out within a month. All the utilities shall also adopt ‘good operation and maintenance practices’ and random checks would be done. Also, States would upgrade the State Load despatch centres.

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