New norms for DG sets in Delhi-NCR to come into effect from Oct 1
Diesel generator (DG) sets above 19kW will only be allowed to operate in the NCR if they have been retrofitted with emission control devices or dual fuel kits.
Starting October 1, diesel generator (DG) sets churning out more than 19kW will only be allowed to function in the National Capital Region (NCR) if they have been retrofitted with emission control devices (ECDs) or with dual fuel kits, according to a tweak in regulations announced by the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM).
Environmentalists and resident welfare associations (RWAs) in Delhi have largely welcomed the move, but residents of Gurugram and Noida — two cities that face frequent power outages — said the decision will cause many hardships, and pointed to the high cost of converting DG sets to a dual fuel setup, which can be as high as ₹10 lakh for a 600kW DG set, according to some RWAs.
Under new regulations, which were first announced on June 8, industries, commercial buildings, and residential setups have time till September 30 to finish retrofitting their DG sets. The rules state that there will be no exceptions under Graded Response Action Plan (Grap) — a set of emergency measures that kick in on October 1 every year to tackle air pollution.
In previous years, DG sets were allowed as power backup for essential and emergency services such as lifts, transport hubs, healthcare facilities, Metro stations, sewage treatment plants, or telecommunication and data service institutes.
The CAQM regulations state that DG sets below 19 kW in power, or generator sets running on LPG, natural gas, biogas, propane or butane, do not require retrofitting, and will also not be restricted during the Grap period.
DG sets between 19-125 kW will be required to run on a dual fuel mode of natural gas and diesel. CAQM said for such DG sets, there will be no restrictions on their use, except during Grap, when they will be permitted to run for a maximum of two hours.
For DG sets with a power capacity of 125-800 kW, CAQM said they will be required to be run both on a dual fuel mode and will have to be retrofitted with ECDs. However, there will be no restrictions on such DG sets, even during Grap. For DG sets with a capacity of over 800kW, operators will either have to retrofit them with dual fuel kits or with ECDs, with such sets again facing restrictions only during Grap, where they will be allowed to run for a maximum of two hours.
Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, research and advocacy at the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said the move to phase out DG sets is important to improve air quality across NCR. “Emissions from DG sets are a sustained source, which over time leads to toxic exposure, particularly to those working around or near them. In addition to comprehensive guidelines for the retrofitting of ECDs and monitoring, we also need to ensure uninterrupted power supply through NCR and for that, CAQM needs to work with discoms,” she said.
Atul Goyal, president of the United Residents Joint Action (Urja) — a consortium of more than 2,500 RWAs in Delhi — said the Capital’s power supply during the winter months is largely uninterrupted. “Most of Delhi will be unaffected, as power supply issues and a reliance on DG sets is greater in Noida and Gurugram. However, in societies across Patparganj, Dwarka, Rohini, we may see an issue when it comes to power back-ups,” he said.
However, in Gurugram and Noida, residents said they may face problems this winter.
RWAs in Gurugram have already informed the district administration that existing electricity infrastructure struggles to meet the growing demand of the city, leading to frequent outages. In such circumstances, they said, the usage of DG sets becomes inevitable. They have also said that converting existing DG sets to a dual fuel setup is a financially burdening affair, particularly for larger units.
Pravin Malik, president of the Sare Home RWA in Gurugram, said most housing societies are likely to face problems as on an average, the city witnesses scheduled or unscheduled power cuts of one hour a day. “Residents are likely to get impacted if the power backup is not made operational. In several areas of the city, PNG supply is not available, and this makes conversion of gensets difficult. We have asked the administration to seek six months to one year more for ensuring infrastructure is improved,” he said.
Representatives of the Noida Federation of Apartment Owner’s Association (NOFAA), an umbrella body of more than 70 high rise apartment owner’s associations in Noida, said CAQM should have considered feedbacks from residents before tweaking the rules.
“Noida high-rise dwellers would be the worst effected once the ban comes into effect,” said Rajiva Singh, president of NOFAA. “The unstable power supply by discoms, with frequent power failures , has not been considered while taking such a decision.”