A 9 minute blackout is what the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, had asked for from the people, however, the state load dispatch centres and the transmission utilities have been gearing up for what might be an adverse effect of the blackout.
On Friday, the Prime Minister of India requested the people to switch off the lights of their homes and come to their balconies with candles, diya (small lamps) or with flash lights for 9 minutes at 9:00 PM on Sunday to display the solidarity.
There have been concerns that this 9 minute blackout could adversely impact the electricity grid because of a sudden drop in the demand for power at the time when the demand is generally at its peak. The power demand is already seeing a drop as it has dropped by 25% at 125.81 GW on 2nd April compared to the same date last year.
However, on Friday, a spokesperson from the power ministry had said that there would be no such effect on the power grid’s stability as everything has already been taken care of.
On the other hand, a senior official of the NPCIL also called Nuclear Power Corporation of indian Limited, M K Mathur, has urged the people of the country to keep all the fans on to maintain the stability of the grid.
Mathur, who is the Associate Director of NPCIL said, “Please keep all fans on for 15 minutes on dated 5/4/20 (8:55pm to 9:10pm) to maintain Grid-stability”.
Many engineers have also suggested that keeping the electrical appliances such as Air Conditioners (ACs) and Refriferator switched on will help in maintaining stability.
Some engineers, in a statement, said, “With all the industrial and commercial loads off, we have only domestic and essential services loads on the grid. Since the active lighting load is less than 40% of the total load, the sudden switching-off of all the lights on the grid may lead to power collapse (due sudden drop of huge load)”.
They also urged the people to “please keep some loads such as fridges and ACs on. If the grid gets collapsed, then all the hospitals which are treating patients may lose their critical power supply”.
Even the SLDC, the State Load Dispatch Centre of Uttar Pradesh has written to the state’s utilities to to undertake a series of step to deal with the possibility of a sudden drop in the demand of the power.
In a letter to the utilities of the state, the SLDC has asked them to keep all the reactors of the state grid in service while keeping the capacitor banks inoperational. The letter also states that the instructions have come in view of the request made by PM Modi to all the people in India to switch off their homes’ lights for 9 minutes at 9:00 PM on Sunday.
The SLDC has also directed the utilities to start load shedding from 8:00 PM onwards on Sunday, in a staggered manner.
Similar instructions have been given by many other state governments as well. The Tamil Nadu Transmission Corporation (TANTRANSCO) in a letter to its executives have said that it should be made sure of that sufficient staff is present given the call made by the Prime Minister for Sunday blackout.
The corporation has asked them to follow the directions of SLDC.
An officer who cited in a leading news agency of India however his name was not disclosed, the officer said, the power demand may see a decline of between 10 GW to 12 GW during those 9 minutes of the blackout on Sunday night, which will have no bearing on the stability of the country’s power grid.
The official further added that this will not be the first time that the country will be going in the state of a blackout, as earlier, too, similar exercises have been conducted for initiatives such as Earth Hour.
Many political parties in opposition have come forward to criticise the blackout called by PM Modi. A state minister went to lengths when he asked the people to not participate and not switch off the lights at 9:00 PM on Sunday. In 2012, Indian went through a power grid failure which was caused by a power failure, however, at present, the country has a strong transmission network which is capable enough to handle fluctuations in demand of electricity.