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Power failure: Panel for smart grids, special protection plan

According to reports, implementation of smart grids and Special Protection Schemes (SPSs) are the long-term solutions recommended by the panel headed by A.S. Bakshi, Chairman of Central Electricity Authority.

The panel was set up to look into the massive grid failure that left the entire North, East and North-East in dark for more than six hours on July 30-31.

Meanwhile, the National Load Despatch Centre (NLDC) has filed a petition with the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) against some of the Northern States for not maintaining grid discipline, another reason being cited for the failure.

At CERC’s first hearing last week, the States are understood have deposed that the wide gap between demand and the allotment led to the overdrawal from the grid.

Power Minister M. Veerappa Moily said on Sunday that the Government was contemplating heavy fine on defaulters (States) including even imprison those responsible for such cases. Moily was expected to inform Parliament the reasons and impact of grid failure during a Calling Attention Motion scheduled last Friday. However, Parliament was adjourned, said a Power Ministry official.

The Power Ministry has written to the States to put in place a defence mechanism and adhere strictly to the Indian Electricity Grid Code. The Ministry is also looking at changes to be made to the Grid Code for proper implementation.

The Special Protection Schemes help prevent grid failure situations. These are to be implemented at State electricity distribution centres. This system disconnects the circuit automatically during critical situation.

This means if any customer is drawing more electricity than what is allotted or frequency of the transmission line drops from normal, the circuit gets disconnected automatically.

“The grids work like a highway. They are the carrier. Finally, load has to be cut at customer (State) level during critical times,” R. N. Nayak, Chairman and Managing Director of Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd, told Business Line. PowerGrid operates five grids — Northern, Western, Southern, Eastern and North Eastern — that transmit 1,29,980 MW during peak demand. The Northern States not maintaining grid discipline has emerged as one of the primary factors for last month’s grid failure.

However, industry experts feel that Smart Grid is not the silver bullet that will solve all grid related issues.

“At best, it can make the grid work more efficiently with the existing constraints. Overall, matching of demand and supply and strengthening the transmission network will be needed for long-term solution for grid stability,” said Debasish Mishra, Senior Director at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India Private Ltd.

Implementation of Smart Grids in the complete chain, similar to Western countries, is not feasible in India at this moment. Under this system, smart-meters track electricity flow from the supplier to the appliance consuming electricity.

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