The country could plunge into darkness as states in the northern and southern region continue to draw extra power from the national grid.
Fearing that the race to get extra electricity could trigger a grid collapse, Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) — which operates the national grid — has started issuing “strict warnings” to erring states for maintaining grid discipline or “face the danger of a grid collapse”.
A 12 hour grid collapse in July 2002 saw airport services getting paralysed, trains stopping, and hospital services being suspended in the affected states. Taps dried up and pumps stopped working.
Uttar Pradesh (UP), Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab , Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have been issued warnings. Madhya Pradesh, too, has been warned earlier, a senior PGCIL official said.
Sources in the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) said the regulator has begun adjudication proceedings under Section 142 and 149 of the Electricity Act. “States have been asked to pay 40 per cent over normal tariff charges,” a CERC official said
State authorities are helpless as they have been instructed by chief ministers to keep supplying power to keep the voters happy. “Grid security is a matter that is supreme in power supply,” said former power secretary Anil Razdan.
“State funds are being misused to buy power from exchanges and other states at tariffs as high as Rs 16 per unit,” the official said. “The average cost at which any state purchases power stands at Rs 2-3 a unit.”