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National power panel set up for better grid supervision in India

According to reports, the government has set up a National Power Committee to ensure strict discipline as well as to resolve inter-state issues in utilisation of electricity grids in the country.

The setting up of the panel by the Power Ministry comes less than a year after one of the worst ever power grid failures impacted more than half of country’s population. Overdrawal of electricity by some states was cited as one of the reasons for the crisis.

Chairperson of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), the apex planning body for the power sector, would be heading the 18-member committee. Chiefs of Northern, Western, Southern and Eastern Regional Power Committees, among others, would be part of the newly constituted panel.

The committee’s role would be crucial in evolving “a common approach to issues related to reliability and security” of the power grid system in the country, against the backdrop of growing complexity in managing them.

According to the Ministry order dated March 25, the panel would address issues among Regional Power Committees (RPCs) – that work towards improving operational performance of grids in a particular region.

Also, the new panel would discuss and resolve issues that need consultations among “one or more RPCs, concerning inter alia, inter regional implication or any other issue affecting more than one region or all regions”.

The panel is required to meet at least once in every six months and members can meet anytime to discuss any issue.

Earlier this month, a Power Ministry official had divulged plans for establishing a National Power Committee to have better co-ordination in grid management among stakeholders.

Presently, there are five regional grids in the country – Northern, Eastern, Western, North Eastern and Southern. Work is also progressing to synchronise the Southern grid with the other four grids.

In one of the worst collapses, the Northern grid had tripped on July 30 last year resulting in massive outages. The very next day, Northern, Eastern and North Eastern grids had failed.

The high-level enquiry committee on grid disturbances, in its report last year, had said that no single factor was responsible for the problems.

As per that committee’s report, “overdrawal by some of the Northern Region utilities” and multiple outages of transmission lines were among the reasons for collapse of grids.

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