Power officials assure grid stability post nine minutes of darkness on Sunday

NEW DELHI | KOLKATA: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call asking nation to switch off lights for nine minutes on Sunday will not impact electricity grid operations, power ministry officials said, calming concerns that the country’s power system may trip by fluctuation in demand.

Ministry officials and grid management authorities in Centre and states swung into action immediately after Modi’s address on Friday morning, urging people to switch of lights at 9 PM on Sunday night and express solidarity in times of lockdown by lighting earthen lamps or torch lights.

“Power Minister R K Singh has discussed the issue with Power Grid Corp of India Ltd and load dispatcher (Posoco) in today’s meeting. They are up to the task and are confident of managing the grid stability for the event,” the spokesperson said on Friday in response to a media query. Load dispatch centres of various states started issuing precautionary directions to their power distribution and generation companies.

Power System Operation Corporation Ltd, which is the grid operator and manages the flow of electricity, will monitor the situation.

“Preliminary indications are that the country will see at least a 10GW dip in national demand on Sunday around 9 pm. We are in constant touch with all state discoms and regional load despatch centres for proper planning and management of the event. It will be monitored closely,” Posoco chairman and managing director KVS Baba told ET. Planning and contingency measures will be ready by Saturday evening, he said.

Another top official in the electricity grid management authority said since the event is known in advance, measures can be taken to ensure grid is not affected. Uttar Pradesh expects a sharp load reduction of 3,000-mw during the nine minutes, while Maharashtra anticipates around 5,000-mw demand drop, officials in the two states said. Grid authorities are calculating average load around 9 PM and will give suitable instructions to power plants in advance, he said.

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