In a setback to Delhi Government’s power ministry, the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity has slapped a fine of Rs 2.5 lakh on its generating unit (Delhi Transco Limited) for overdrawing power from the grid on four occasions between January and October 2008.
The tribunal found Delhi Transco guilty of violating the Indian Electricity Grid Code.
Under the code, the distribution companies injecting and drawing electricity from the grid have a preliminary duty to protect the grid’s security. However, Delhi Transco failed to comply with the guidelines during the summer of 2008. To overcome the shortage, it overdrew power, that in turn, forcing the grid’s frequency level to dip to less than 49 Hz.
The code restricts state utilities from drawing power if the grid’s frequency falls below 49.5 Hz. When it is below 49 Hz, requisite load shedding must be done to prevent the grid from collapsing.
Besides indicting Transco for failing to curtail overdrawing, the tribunal suggested that the Central Regulatory Electricity Commission (CERC) increase unscheduled interchange (UI) rates applied on state utilities in case of an overdraw.
UI rates are meant to encourage additional power generation and discourage overdraw of electricity. However, the tribunal said the present UI rates are hardly a deterrent. The current rate, varying from 180 paise to 480 paise, is even less than the short-term rates for power, that is in the range of Rs 5.
Asking the CERC to review UI rates every six months, the tribunal said: “The UI rates below 50 Hz frequency need to be so fixed as to discourage over-draws. In our view, existing UI rates do not achieve this purpose, as the frequency is likely to slide down rapidly to dangerous levels due to over-draws, under low frequency levels.”