This summer there have been fewer power cuts caused by instability of the Northern Grid: courtesy a new regulation in effect since May. Nation’s top power monitoring firm found out that because of the new rule in force, there has been 80 per cent reduction in power cuts, as compared to previous years.
Data with the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) shows that the number of hours when the Northern Grid operated in unstable frequency (less than 49.2 Hz) came down to under five per cent of total operations. The new figures came about in May, when a stricter Electricity Grid Code was notified.
In simple words, it means that since May, states have been overdrawing considerably less than they used to. The reason: the code has made overdrawing up to 100 per cent costlier.
This is one of the main reasons you haven’t yet seen those long power cuts you dread. For years, Delhiites have suffered long power cuts — often despite there being arrangement for adequate power — thanks to under-frequency relays caused by overdrawing by other states. Delhi had to officially complain about this to the CERC and also to Northern Regional Power Committee.
“In the week of May 3-9, the frequency never fell below 49.2 Hz, which has never happened in the past. After that, it operated in precarious frequencies for less than five per cent of the operations,” said a senior power official on the condition of anonymity.
The story, however, is quite different for April, when northern India was facing a horrid heat wave. As the new grid code was not in force then, most of the month saw the grid frequency falling below critical level.
“States have been overdrawing much less. The result has been visible this summer because we have not had to resort to load-shedding due to grid constraints,” said Rajendra Kumar, the outgoing Delhi Power Secretary.
The Northern Grid operates steadily at frequencies between 49.5 and 50 Hz. If constituent states — all states in north India — start drawing more power, the grid becomes unstable and the frequency falls below 49.5 Hz, increasing the chances of a system collapse.
To protect the system, the states have to shed load (power cuts) during under-frequency relays.