CERC issues notice to UPPCL for over drawl of power
After half of India plunged into darkness due to power failure, CERC pulls up UP for violating grid discipline
Virendra Nath Bhatt
Following the failure of the national power grid twice early this week, the Uttar Pradesh (UP) government now faces the stark choice to either run the power distribution network as per the diktats of the bosses of the ruling Samajwadi Party or abide by the grid discipline and draw power from the northern power grid only as per its quota and thus, prevent the recurrence of the power outage. UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on both the occasions denied that UP was in any way responsible for the grid failure and there was no over drawl from the northern gird leading to grid failure.
UP Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) sources said that West Bengal, Gujarat and few other states have demanded the Centre to initiate new legislation for curbing the gross indiscipline of overdrawing by the northern states.
Ever since the Samajwadi Party government came to power in March, the PSU power supply utility UPPCL, was forced to over draw power or unscheduled inter change (UI) from the NEW (North-East-West) power grid to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the four VIP districts Etawah, Mainpuri, Kannauj—the core area of Samajwadi Party and Yadav belt in UP and Rampur, the home town of senior minister Azam Khan, the muslim mascot of the party. Besides this, the UPPCL was supplying 16 hours of power to 250 towns as per the diktats of the SP leaders against the scheduled 8 hours as per the power roster plan.
Nailing the lie of Akhilesh Yadav, denying over drawl from the NEW grid the Power Systems Operation Corporation of India (POSCO), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Power Grid Corporation of India, in its investigation report has said between June 1 and July 16, National Load Despatch Center (NLDC), which controls the national power grid, had sent as many as 402 caution messages to the UPPCL for over drawl from the northern grid. The NLDC is under the POSCO.
Three types of caution messages are sent by the NLDC to the states making over drawl from the grid. The grid frequency should remain between 49.5 Hz to 50.5 Hz. The first message A is general in nature, but if the overdraw continues for next 20 minutes then message B or serious message is issued and if the frequency dips below 49.5 Hz then the last warning message C message is issued. The UPPCL continued to ignore the warning messages from the NLDC in June and July and paid the penalty for drawing power at low frequency .The UPPCL paid for that power at the rate of Rs 17.46 per unit thus causing an additional burden of over Rs 1,500 crore on itself in the last two months.
The POSCO report said UP topped the list of messages sent to it by the NLDC among the nine northern states, which are part of the northern grid. Haryana also drew power and was issued 265 cautions, Punjab 227, Uttarakhand 154, Jammu and Kashmir 119, Rajasthan 70, Himachal Pradesh 20, and Delhi 5. Only the Union Territory of Chandigarh did not make any overdraw. UP and other northern starts continued to indulge in unscheduled interchange or over drawl even after the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), on a petition from NLDC, ordered them on July 10 not to make any over drawl from the NEW (North-East-West) grid when the frequency was below 49.5 Hz.
The CERC, on July 30, following another complaint by the NLDC, issued notice to UPPCL as to why action be not taken against it for violating the grid code under Indian Electricity Act 2003 and penalty be imposed. The UPPCL officials will appear in person before the CERC on August 14 to reply to the notice.
Under pressure from the CERC, the UPPCL is now reactivating the grid protection system and under frequency relay are being installed. The relay will trip the transmission line as soon there is over drawl from the grid and frequency goes down below 49.5 Hz.
“Over drawl from the grid is a routine affair and we are not the only state to do so, all the states particularly in northern region do unscheduled inter change or over drawl, but there was no excess drawl by the UP the day grid collapsed on both days July 30 and July 31,” said Satish Chandra, chief engineer ( Power Systems Operation) UPPCL, adding, “ the under frequency relay were installed but were not in operation and this system is being made operational to ensure that transmission line automatically trips in case of low frequency in the grid.”
Virendra Nath Bhatt is a Special Correspondent with Tehelka.