In July 2012, eight States including Delhi had their power supply snapped off on two consecutive days after the Northern Grid collapsed and virtually brought life to a grinding halt. The blame was fixed on grid indiscipline and solutions proffered – no overdrawing and islanding to protect the city from a blackout.
As summer closes in, Delhi’s ambitious islanding scheme is still getting ready to take-off, even as fears of another grid failure are beginning to gain ground. With States such as Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh having declared huge shortfall of power and resorting to heavy load-shedding, the Union Power Ministry has asked all Northern Grid constituents to ensure demand management.
Behind by a few weeks, Delhi’s islanding plan too is gathering pace. “We will be ready to implement the plan by the end of the month, Power Grid has assured us that most of the work is over,” said a Power Department official. The island scheme will allow Delhi to recover faster, should the grid collapse again.
Delhi has also instructed the three discoms to ensure there is no grid violation.
In the wake of complaints of prolonged power cuts from the neighbouring States of Haryana and U.P., the Union Power Ministry, not wishing to take chances, has called for pre-emptive action.
“There is heavy load-shedding in U.P. and Haryana, which has given way to apprehensions that as the summer intensifies and if the States are not able to tie-up their power supply, they might be tempted to overdraw. The Ministry has been in touch with the States and has given instructions to implement the required demand management plans,” said an official of the Ministry.
The safety of the grid has been highlighted and the States have been cautioned against threatening it. “Whether it is through overdrawing or by not having in service under frequency relays (UFRs), States have been instructed to avoid any slip-up that can endanger the grid. They have also been asked to ensure that feeders used for load-shedding through UFRs are not the same as feeders used for manual load-shedding, which can also compromise the grid safety,” the official said.
States like J&K, U.P., Haryana and Punjab have informed the Ministry of heavy deficit in power arrangements and have admitted that they will have to load-shed.
Delhi’s islanding scheme has been designed to isolate power installations from the main grid when fluctuations occur and prevent a collapse. When these installations are disconnected from the grid, they can be used to re-energise the city’s power generation and ensure supply to essential services like hospitals, rail services and water treatment plants.
The four islands that have been identified are the Dadri-Jhajjhar-Pragati Island, Bawana CCGT Island, BTPS-Pragati Island and the Rithala CCGT Island. The islanding facility for Delhi is being set up at a cost of Rs. 25 crore and it will have a capacity of up to 3,400 MW.