Seemandhra Stir May Trip Southern Grid
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The power crisis triggered by the striking Seemandhra electricity employees to push forth their demand for a united state spread to the other southern states on Monday. Apprehending that the crisis could lead to the collapse of the southern grid, power officials from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Pondicherry sought the intervention of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) which in turn directed the state officials to take steps to ensure that the power crisis does not go out of hand. The collapse of the southern grid will lead to a total black out in the southern states.
The crisis aggravated after the striking electricity employees, who have already ensured a shut down at the various power generating stations across the Seemandhra region, resorted to halting the distribution network from Sunday. This resulted in a blockage in the supply of power because of which there was a danger of the power grid frequency dropping below the permitted levels of 49.5 hertz and leading to the tripping of the entire southern grid.
Following a directive from the Centre, the state power officials decided to cut generation so that the frequency did not drop below 49.5 hertz. “Since we are maintaining the frequency level at 49.6 hertz at present, there is no immediate threat to the southern grid. Our load dispatch centres are monitoring the situation every minute,” Munindra, in-charge CMD, APTransco, told TOI. State power officials cut the power generation by 3,000 MW on Monday, from 10, 734 MW to 7,400 MW. This led to massive power disruptions across the 13 Seemandhra districts and the major towns and municipalities including Visakhapatnam plunged into darkness on Monday. Hyderabad too had to bear the onslaught with power cuts in the capital.
The danger signals that the southern grid would be affected was first detected on Sunday, when the power evacuated from power plants which supply the Southern Power Distribution Company Limited (comprising most of the Seemandhra districts) plummeted to 440 MW from the normal 2100 MW. To prevent the frequency level dropping below the permitted level, power generation at the hydel stations in Srisailam, Nagarjunsagar and Jurala was immediately stopped.
As per the Indian electricity grid code, the permissible frequency band for grid operations to be followed strictly by all member states is 49.5Hz to 50.2Hz. The southern and northern grids collapsed in 2002 due to heavy load while in July 2012, the northern grid tripped due to overdrawal of power by a few states. In the present instance however, the danger is not overdrawal of power but that the generated power is not moving forward due to disruption of the transmission lines.