PM’s lights off call: Power distributors to take steps to prevent system crash



A power station in Dimapur. (Morung File Photo)


No major concern for Nagaland as it already follows a load shedding ritual


Morung Express News
Dimapur | April 4

Fear of a potential blackout gripping the country as a result of the Prime Minister’s call for switching off lights for 9 minutes starting 9:00pm on April 5 has had ordinary citizens worrying. According to utility services, a huge drop and surge in load in a short period of time, simultaneously, would have chaotic impact on the entire transmission and distribution system or the national Grid resulting in a disruption that would potentially take hours to restore.

Congressman and MP Shashi Tharoor also took to Twitter criticizing the PM’s call stating the nine minute event would crash the Grid. The Uttar Pradesh Load Despatch Centre had also issued an advisory on April 3 to power distributors in the state to take appropriate steps to avoid a crash while stating that a rapid reduction in load “may also cause a high voltage surge in the UP Power Grid.”

While the Power Ministry has downplayed the concern, it nevertheless issued instructions to the Regional and State Load Despatch Centres across the country to “work out Grid balancing” during the 9-minute period. 

Meanwhile, in Nagaland, Power engineers admitted to the dangers of a sudden drop and surge in load but maintained that such an event would not have much impact here. 

“Technically, if suddenly all the load is put off in one go, there will be imbalance in the grid. However, going by our consumption pattern, we are relatively safe. I don't think it’s going to cost us any damage,” commented one official of the Department of Power, Nagaland (DoPN). 

“Load shedding” is a common phenomenon here, implying the distribution set up is used to dealing with fluctuations. Further, he reminded that the state has also observed “Earth Hours” in the past, which have had not much impact on the health of the system. 

“Only household lighting will be off but the refrigerators, inverter, AC and also water pumps would be on, balancing the drop in load,” commented another. 

Another official of the DoPN said that following the instructions from the Ministry of Power, the North Eastern Regional Load Despatch Centre asked all the Load Despatch centres in the region to take appropriate steps. 

However, the official said that the Department would leave it to individual free-will. As far as Nagaland is concerned, he said that the event would happen during Peak Hours, which implies the regular “load shedding” ritual will already be operational and which, by itself, would balance the imagined drop in load for 9 minutes. 

Asked to shed more light on the impact of sudden drop (to zero load), he said that to safely restart the system, it will take atleast 60-90 minutes. “To avoid that, there should be a controlled drop in load,” he added.

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