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NPCIL urges citizens to ‘keep all fans on for 15 minutes’ during PM's 9 minutes blackout; know why

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 4 April 2020, 17:18 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal for a nine minutes blackout at 9 pm on sunday, has throw officials in the power minister off balance as they gear up to deal with the odds of any adverse effect on the electricity grid.

The Indian Prime Minister on Friday asked the citizens to switch off the light at their homes and kindle lamps, candles or mobile phone torch for nine minutes at 9 pm on Sunday to exhibit India’s common determination to overcome the coronavirus.

There have been concerns that the blackout may exert influence to the electricity grid because of sudden dip in peak power demand, which was already down 25% at 125.81 GW on 2nd April in contrast to a year ago.

But, a power ministry spokesperson on Friday stated that there would be no such impact on grid stability as everything has been taken care of, even though a senior official of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) advised citizens to keep all fans switched on to maintain grid stability.

"Please keep all fans on for 15 minutes on dated 5/4/20 (8:55pm to 9:10pm) to maintain Grid-stability,” NPCIL Associate Director MK Mathur said.

Some engineers also advised to keep electrical appliances like air conditioners and refrigerator on to check load stability.

In a statement, few engineers stated, "With all the industrial and commercial loads off, we have only domestic and essential services loads on the grid. Since, the active (present) lighting load is less than 40% of the total load, the sudden (simultaneous) switching-off of all the lights on the grid may lead to power collapse (due sudden drop of huge load). So, please keep some loads such as fridges and ACs on. If the grid gets collapsed, then all the hospitals which are treating patients may lose their critical power supply."

In the men time, the State Load Dispatch Centre (SLDC) of Uttar Pradesh has written a letter to state utilities to take a spate fo measures to cope with the possibility of a sudden dip in power demand.

The SLDC in this letter asked the utilities to keep all the reactors of state grid in survice while keeping capacitor banks inoperational. The letter stated that these directives have been given citing the call made by PM Modi.

The SLDC has also asked them to start load shedding from 8 pm to 9 pm on Sunday in a staggered manner.

Much the same directives have been issued by the Tamil Nadu Transmission Corporation in a letter to its operational executives, stating that availability of adequate workforce should be ensured citing the call made by the Prime Minister. The corporation also solicited them to abide by SLDC guidelines.

In the meantime, an official on the condition of anonymity stated that power demand may dip by 10 GW to 12 GW in the time of blackout, which will have no bearing on stability of the national power grid.

The official further stated that this is not the first instant that the nation is going for a blackout, as earlier also such practices have been done for initiatives like ‘Earth Hour’.

India had gone through a grid failure in 2012 because of technical grounds. Notwithstanding that, India at present has a strong transmission network which has the ability to handle fluctuations in power demand.

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First published: 4 April 2020, 17:17 IST