Coronavirus Update: PM Modi’s lights off call gets ‘huge response’, sharp dip in power demand
Power Minister RK Singh and senior officials from the power ministry were monitoring the health of the grid from the National Power Monitoring Centre in Shram Shakti Bhawan, New Delhi during the lights off event at 9 pm which was observed across the country at PM Modi’s call.Updated: Apr 06, 2020 00:05 IST
The Centre said on Sunday that the national response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to switch off lights for nine minutes at 9pm was huge and power demand dropped by 32 GW, more than double of what officials had anticipated.
The Union power ministry said the sharp dip in demand was handled well by engineers deployed across the country. The ramping up of demand and supply went back to 110 GW “smoothly”, the ministry said. Concerns had been expressed that a dramatic drop in supply followed by a quick surge may trip or damage the power grid.
“Huge response to Hon’ble Prime Minister’s call to switch off lights and light a lamp as a show of national solidarity in the fight against. The demand went down from 117300 Megawatts at 2049 hrs to 85300 Megawatts till 2109 hrs; that is a reduction of 32000 Megawatts,” power minister RK Singh said.
शुभं करोति कल्याणमारोग्यं धनसंपदा ।— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 5, 2020
शत्रुबुद्धिविनाशाय दीपज्योतिर्नमोऽस्तुते ॥ pic.twitter.com/4DeiMsCN11
Officials aware of the development said power generation was lowered to keep the grid frequency in check and directions were issued to avoid load shedding. “Generation will be kept slightly lower than load so that when load is thrown off at 9pm, the frequency would not be on the higher side,” a senior government official said.
According to national load dispatcher POSOCO (Power System Operation Corporation), the total domestic lighting load reduction had been pegged at 12-13 GW.
Singh and senior officials from the power ministry were monitoring the health of the grid from the National Power Monitoring Centre in Shram Shakti Bhawan, New Delhi.
In a clarification issued earlier in the day, the ministry had said the PM’s directive – aimed at building solidarity against Covid-19 and encouraging frontline workers and the poor -- was only to switch off domestic home lights between 9.00pm and 9.09pm.
“Indian Electricity Grid is well designed to handle such kind of load variation with several in- built levels of control and safety mechanisms to absorb any kind of frequency changes. all adequate arrangements and standard operating protocols are in place to maintain grid stability. all States/UTs/ Local bodies have been advised to keep the street lights on for public safety,” the ministry said.
The power grid has seen a 30% reduction in demand due to the absence of commercial activity in the wake of the lockdown.
The essence of grid management is load balancing over time (in this case, 15-minute intervals), and a drop in demand could have resulted in a sudden change in grid frequency, leading to a potential power blackout. According to power ministry data available for April 2, peak demand stood at 125.8 GW, which is 25% lower than 168.3 GW for the same day last year.