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How state power grids are gearing up for the 9 minute planned black out at 9 pm tomorrow

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New Delhi, Apr 04: All state power corporations are gearing up for tomorrow's event when the lights would be turned off at all homes between 9 pm and 9.09 pm.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Friday said that all should turn off the lights in their homes at 9 pm on Sunday and light candles, diyas or flash the torch for nine minutes.

How state power grids are gearing up for the 9 minute planned black out at 9 pm tomorrow

Following this announcement, the Power Ministry went into a huddle. The Ministry however said that the event would not impact the national power grid much. The Power Minister, R K Singh held discussions with the Power Grid Corporation of India and the Power System Operator Corporation. It was informed that they were up to the task and could maintain grid stability for the event. It was also said that the extent of fluctuation would be minimal. However the Power Ministry has asked all state and regional load dispatch centres to be prepared.

Meanwhile several state power corporations are taking steps to ensure that there is minimal load on the grids. In Uttar Pradesh, load shedding across the state has been ordered to prevent the power grid from collapsing due to the sudden drop in demand for electricity. It has been estimated the demand for electricity is likely to slump by as much as 3,000 MW following the lights being switched off for 9 minutes.

In UP, it has been advised that all reactors be kept in service during the period. All generating stations must be ready to generate power in such a manner that the reactive power be absorbed to the limiting value of their capability curve. Load shedding in a staggered manner may be done starting from 20.00 hours to 21.00 hours, it has been decided in Uttar Pradesh.

In Tamil Nadu too measures are being taken to handle the event at 9 pm tomorrow. All capacitor banks to be monitored for appropriate operation and if necessary tap changers may be operated in consultation to maintain correct voltage profile, it has also been instructed.

State-run Power System Operation Corporation (POSOCO), which is responsible for integrated operation of the grid, is working towards ensuring there is no pressure on the grid due to the possible grid collapse and resultant blackout throughout the country. The Central Electricity Regulatory Authority (CERA) necessitates permissible range of the frequency band of 49.95-50.05 Hz for normal running of grid and if there is any discrepancy in the same with sudden increase or decrease in power flow, it might result into grid collapse.

"The entire power sector is currently under stress. The demand has already fallen significantly due to the ongoing lockdown. There could be some stress due to this blackout of few minutes, but since we know the time, we can plan for it well in advance," a government official said on condition of anonymity.

According to Power Ministry data, power demand slipped over 25 per cent to 125.81 GW on April 2 as compared to 168.32 GW on April 2, 2019 amid the lockdown to contain COVID-19 outbreak. According to the official, POSOCO has already informed all the five regional load despatch centres and national load despatch centre to ensure grid frequency is maintained even if demand drops suddenly during the blackout.

The Power Ministry has maintained that there will be no impact on the operation of the grid. An industry expert said that since it is a planned blackout, there will be enough time to manage the grids.

"This is unlike the blackout of 2012 which resulted in failure of the grid. Since they know the exact timing, it will be easy to manage the grid. Moreover, only households will switch off the lights. However, other establishments and street lights will continue to draw electricity during that time," the expert quoted by PTI said.

In July 2012, India had witnessed severe power outages due to collapse of northern and eastern electricity transmission grid.

An official from the Power Grid Corporation said that although there would be some pressure, it would not be too serious and the grid operators were well prepared to handle the sudden drop in power demand.

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