PM Modi’s Sunday, 9pm, 9-minute blackout May Slash Power pull by 10% : Watch

Nagpur: A leading energy expert on Saturday said that the Sunday evening 9 p.m. blackout “could result in an estimated 10 per cent reduced demand for power”, which can be effectively handled by the national power grid and load despatchers.

“Normally, the grid operators are always well-prepared to handle any such sudden drop in power demand. Since the COVID-19 lockdown, the demand has already dropped by more than 20 per cent, and the Sunday blackout may result in a further drop of roughly 8-10 per cent,” said Pramod Kate, head of Vyankatesha Engineers & Consultants.

Last year in April (2019) the national power demand was 168,326 MW, but in April 2020, it dropped to 125,870 MW owing to the national lockdown, he added.

“On Sunday at 9 p.m., only the house lights are likely to be switched off for a brief duration. All other gadgets, equipments would continue as usual, so there will not be any drastic drop in demand for power. According to tentative estimates, the total drop in demand may be around 8-10 per cent which the grid can easily manage,” Kate told IANS.

Kate — a retired Executive Engineer with the Mahagenco — said that grid stability must be maintained whenever there is a sudden increase or fall in demand, and if this is not done, power stations would trip and restarting them can take a lot of time, several hours.

Maintaining the grid stability is the responsibility of the Power System Operation Corporation Ltd. (PSOCL) through its National and Northern Regional Load Despatch Centres, both based in New Delhi, plus Eastern Regional Load Despatch Centre in Kolkata, Western Regional Load Despatch Centre in Mumbai, Southern Regional Load Despatch Centre in Bengaluru and North-Eastern Regional Load Despatch Centre in Shillong.

“They are tasked to monitor and maintain grid frequency even if the demand drops suddenly. They are usually well-prepared to handle any such sudden drop in demand, especially for tomorrow for which they have been preparing since the past two-three days,” Kate said.

The expert’s comments came in the wake of Maharashtra Energy Minister Nitin Raut’s apprehensions that a sudden blackout on Sunday (April 5), it could hit the power-grid with trippings.

Expressing caution over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal to all people in the country to switch off lights for nine minutes at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Raut said that the current lockdown since past nine days already changed the state’s power equations pertaining to power generation and supply.

While the state’s power demand has come down heavily from 23,000 MW to 13,000 MW daily, the industry consumption is zero and only the domestic and emergency demands are being catered to.

“If there is a sudden further drop in the demand in case people switch off their lights at a single moment, power stations may go on high frequency. It could result in feeder trippings in the grid,” Raut said in a statement late on Friday night.

The PM’s call for a nine-minute blackout and light lamps or candles, generated a huge debate on its pros and cons, besides kicking up a political row.

In Maharashtra, the ruling Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party, Congress, Samajwadi Party, All India Kisan Sabha and others have attacked the move bitterly, terming it as a ‘stunt’ and ‘event’ by the PM in the face of the COVID-19 catastrophe confronting the country.

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