Taking lessons from the recent grid collapse that resulted in the biggest blackout in the country and left over 600 million people or half of India's population in the dark, power minister Veerappa Moily on Monday announced a scheme "to island essential services", in effect ensuring uninterrupted power supply to hospitals, railways including local metro transport and water supply systems in the event of any mishap.
Moily also announced that the expert panel appointed by his predecessor, Sushilkumar Shinde, to look into the grid collapse would be restructured.
The three-member panel headed by Central Electricity Authority (CEA) chairman AS Bakshi has been expanded to seven people, to include experts from IIT Kanpur and former members of the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission, as well as a former Central Bureau of Investigation director. Bakshi would remain chairman, and the panel will submit its report by August 16.
Monday's meeting was attended by Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, power ministers and senior energy secretaries from eight northern states and Chandigarh.
The “islanding” proposal was announced after Moily’s meeting with chief ministers of north-eastern states.
“The state chief ministers have been asked to prepare islanding schemes in three months and implement them in six months,” Moily told reporters.
An islanding system de-links a designated part of the network from the rest of the grid in the event of a major power failure.
Moily said the meeting also resolved to put in place adequate defence plans and protection systems to ensure that integrated operations of the national and regional grids adhere to the Indian Electricity Grid Code
It was also decided that all the utilities should adopt good operation and maintenance practices, which would be subject to random checks by regional power committees.
States would adhere to the grid code, and would be prevented from overdrawing power in excess of their allocated quota. They would be constantly monitored, and invite heavy penalties in the event of breaking grid discipline.