The government on Tuesday ruled out any danger of the southern grid collapsing following severe power crisis and blackouts in Andhra Pradesh that got triggered due to strikes by electricity employees in the wake of ongoing protests against the Centre’s decision to create a new Telangana state.
Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said that there was no danger of the southern grid failing despite the continuing strike by the Andhra Pradesh government employees.
Shinde, however, indicated that the Essential Services Maintenance Act may be imposed to restore power situation in Seemandhra region and said the state government was talking to the stake holders on how to bring normalcy.
The minister of state for power, Jyotiraditya Scindia said although the Centre was closely watching the situation, electricity was the state government’s responsibility.
Power ministry officials said all central government power departments and PSUs including Powergrid, Central Electricity Authority (CEA) and the regional and central load despatch centres have been put on high alert in order to closely monitor the situation “on continuous basis.”
Ruling out any impact of the ongoing crisis in Andhra Pradesh on other southern states, Powergrid chairman, R N Nayak told the Hindustan Times that the situation is being monitored every minute. “The problem is more internal and I don’t see it affecting the other southern states.”
Strike by electricity employees saw shut down at various power generating stations across the Seemandhra region thereby halting the distribution network and blocking power supply.
As this situation can lead to power grid frequency dropping below the permitted levels of 49.5 hertz, fears were expressed that the situation may lead to the tripping of the entire southern grid.
The power crisis in the state has paralysed life across the state with blackouts severely affecting the essential health services, drinking water supply, train services, fuel availability and transportation.
While most grid collapses so far in the country have been due to overdrawal of power by states—for instance the collapse of the northern and southern grids in 2002 as also the 2012 collapse of the northern grid, the current danger surrounding the southern grid is the one-off instance arising due to insufficient power reaching the grid.
The strike by electricity employees has led to disruption in power transmission and distribution services which in turn is obstructing the flow of generated power through the network of transmission lines.
“We are ensuring that appropriate frequency levels are maintained and there is no immediate threat to the southern grid,” Nayak said.
The total installed capacity of Andhra Pradesh is over 17,000 MW and as per officials, as much as 4,000 MW power supplyin Andhra Pradesh has been impacted by protests against the bifurcation of the state.
Although a number of sub-stations and generating stations in the state have been affected but they belong to the state generation and transmission firms, not the Centre. "As far as central PSU plants are concerned they have not been affected at all," a senior power ministry official said.