Failure to improve transmission system led to crisis: Plan Panel

  • Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 01, 2012 09:15 IST
  • A traffic police officer directs traffic at an intersection during a power outage near Delhi University in New Delhi. HT/Raj K Raj

    North, East India powerless

    A traffic police officer directs traffic at an intersection during a power outage near Delhi University in New Delhi. HT/Raj K Raj

  • Commuters are waiting at Sealdah railway station following power outage in Kolkata. HT/Subhendu Ghosh

    North, East India powerless

    Commuters are waiting at Sealdah railway station following power outage in Kolkata. HT/Subhendu Ghosh

  • Stranded passengers wait on a railway tracks for the train services to resume following a power outage at Sealdah station in Kolkata. AP/Bikas Das

    North, East India powerless

    Stranded passengers wait on a railway tracks for the train services to resume following a power outage at Sealdah station in Kolkata. AP/Bikas Das

  • A diner waits for his meal in candle light at a hotel during a power cut in Siliguri. AFP/Diptendu Dutta

    North, East India powerless

    A diner waits for his meal in candle light at a hotel during a power cut in Siliguri. AFP/Diptendu Dutta

  • Passengers rush to buses as they remain the only mode of public transportation after train services stalled following power outage, in Kolkata. HT/Samir Jana

    North, East India powerless

    Passengers rush to buses as they remain the only mode of public transportation after train services stalled following power outage, in Kolkata. HT/Samir Jana

  • An attendant using a hand fan to aired patient in the ward of ENT hospital Amritsar during the Power Grid failure in several states of North and East India. HT/Munish Byala

    North, East India powerless

    An attendant using a hand fan to aired patient in the ward of ENT hospital Amritsar during the Power Grid failure in several states of North and East India. HT/Munish...

  • Commuters wait in line at a Metro station after Delhi Metro rail services were disrupted following power outage in New Delhi. India

    North, East India powerless

    Commuters wait in line at a Metro station after Delhi Metro rail services were disrupted following power outage in New Delhi. India's energy crisis cascaded over half the...

  • People travel in an overcrowded bus in New Delhi on Tuesday as Metro services were closed following northern grid failure. (AP Photo)

    North, East India powerless

    People travel in an overcrowded bus in New Delhi on Tuesday as Metro services were closed following northern grid failure. (AP Photo)

  • A traffic jam following power outage and rains in the central part of New Delhi. (AP Photo)

    North, East India powerless

    A traffic jam following power outage and rains in the central part of New Delhi. (AP Photo)

  • Commuters wait for buses outside a Metro station after Delhi Metro rail services were disrupted following power outage in New Delhi. (AP Photo)

    North, East India powerless

    Commuters wait for buses outside a Metro station after Delhi Metro rail services were disrupted following power outage in New Delhi. (AP Photo)

  • Traffic jams are seen in New Delhi following power outage and rains. (AP Photo)

    North, East India powerless

    Traffic jams are seen in New Delhi following power outage and rains. (AP Photo)

  • Passengers stranded outside Metro stations in New Delhi following power outage in New Delhi.

    North, East India powerless

    Passengers stranded outside Metro stations in New Delhi following power outage in New Delhi.

  • Passengers stranded outside Metro stations in New Delhi following power outage in New Delhi.

    North, East India powerless

    Passengers stranded outside Metro stations in New Delhi following power outage in New Delhi.

  • Streets are packed in heavy traffics following power outage and rains in the central part of New Delhi. (AP Photo)

    North, East India powerless

    Streets are packed in heavy traffics following power outage and rains in the central part of New Delhi. (AP Photo)

  • A tourist browses for souvenirs in a dark shop in Janpath Market, a popular tourist shopping area, during a power outtage in New Delhi. (AFP Photo)

    North, East India powerless

    A tourist browses for souvenirs in a dark shop in Janpath Market, a popular tourist shopping area, during a power outtage in New Delhi. (AFP Photo)

  • Portable power generators provide electrical power to souvenir shops along Janpath Market, during a power outtage in New Delhi. (AFP Photo)

    North, East India powerless

    Portable power generators provide electrical power to souvenir shops along Janpath Market, during a power outtage in New Delhi. (AFP Photo)

The grid failure that plunged half the country into darkness was expected because India has failed to augment its transmission system to meet growing power demand of states, a review by the Planning Commission has revealed.

High quality transmission lines such as high voltage direct current (HVDC) — used for long distance bulk transmission of power and 765 KV/400 KV — alternate current transmission system, are important in ensuring uninterrupted electricity supply from far-flung power generation centres to homes.

In the last five years, the plan panel note says, only 3,000 cubic kms (ckm) of HVDC lines and 60,000 ckm of alternate current cables were laid as against the target of 85,000 ckm indicating the weak link between the generation and end user. These transmission lines get overheated when more electricity than its capacity is drawn resulting in tripping of the grid.

“The constant overheating of the system has resulted in the break-down,” a plan panel official said, adding that it will continue if immediate repair and maintenance does not take place.

In addition, a plan panel official said, around 20% of the transmission infrastructure was inadequate, old and in poor state. The panel’s note circulated at a meeting of power ministers this month highlighted how the load on transmission and distribution network was increasing with power demand on the rise and poor maintenance.

The situation is not expected to improve as rural power demand too is rising because of the drought-like situation in many parts of the country and government may have to close down some transmission lines for urgent repairs.

“We are in real power crises,” an official admitted, who pointed out that hydel generation was less than 50% because of deficient water in reservoirs and many thermal plants were not running to optimum level because of inadequate coal supply.

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