Power cuts triggered by the grid collapse on Monday and Tuesday have flagged the need for investing in the power systems. The Delhi Government on Tuesday decided to act on the warning that the grid collapse turned out to be and set up a committee to enforce system strengthening and maintenance.

The city had to face power cuts through the day on Tuesday, after the country’s three grids, the Northern, Easter and the North-Eastern grids collapsed.

A prolonged meeting chaired by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit ended with the Principal Secretary Power being appointed chairperson of a committee that has been set up to ensure that all the State-owned generation units and the discoms spend money on improving the systems.

“The committee has been formed to review all the investment plans. We will have the first meeting on August 6,” said Shakti Sinha, Principal Secretary (Power) Delhi Government.

He said the stakeholders will be asked to revise their investment plans, work out the details of the areas that need up-gradation and seek approval for the spending that is necessary for improving the systems.

“The grid collapse on two consecutive days has brought to fore two issues, the first, to ensure grid discipline and the second to invest in the system,” said Mr. Sinha. On his role as the head of the new committee, he said: “We will ask the stakeholders to make accurate forecasts, make arrangements for meeting the demand, submit their investment plans and seek approval for the augmentation work.”

Asked if Delhi could have been islanded and saved from being drawn into the power cuts that were caused by the grid collapse, he said: “We are examining the process of islanding; but it is generally successful in a smaller area with dedicated generation facility.”

While the government asserts that it could have done little to avoid the black-out situation, the problem would have been eased if the 1500 MW gas-based plant in Bawana was working to its full capacity and the 750 MW Bamnauli plant was functional.

On Tuesday officials in Delhi reiterated the need for strict enforcement of rules. In the past three months, Delhi has written twice to the Union Power Ministry complaining about neighbouring States overdrawing power and endangering the Northern Grid. Officials claim there was no response.

“Who is responsible for ensuring States do not violate grid safety and circuit breakers are not removed? It is the duty of the States to maintain the grid code, but there should action against the defaulters and strict monitoring by the Centre,” said an official of the Delhi Government.

Delhi Government officials say that the Union Ministry of Power should also step up efforts to check the practice of overdrawing and paying a nominal penalty instead of investing in power generation.

Tuesday’s power cuts had a crippling effect on various essential services including the Metro, trains and water distribution system.

“Restoration of power in Delhi started at 1-15 p.m. with the synchronisation of more units of Gas Turbine power station. The power supply to the essential services such as Delhi Metro, hospitals, water supply, etc., was restored on priority. Delhi started getting power from the Northern Grid at 2 p.m. through the 400 kV Agra – Ballabhgarh – Bamnauli line and we could extend power supply to the Indira Gandhi International Airport, Railways and NDMC area,” Mr. Sinha said.

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