Friday, June 25, 2010

Despite All Efforts Power Cuts are On

In an exact replay of the crisis the national capital faced on the power front last year, residents were hit by power cuts lasting six to eight hours. From Wednesday night to all of Thursday, almost every colony in Delhi fell victim to power cuts. Some places like Vasant Vihar were luckier, with only an hour of load shedding, while areas like Dwarka went without electricity for 10-12 hours.

Peak power demand in Delhi hovered around a high 4,650 MW, showing how city residents were depending on air-conditioners to beat the June heat. But going without power for several hours in such weather conditions doubled their agony. Most colonies faced long outages throughout the night caused by a sudden 300 MW generation shortfall to Delhi, following which rotational load shedding was carried out to maintain voltage levels. The situation lasted several hours, giving most consumers a sleepless night.

According to officials from transmission utility Delhi Transco, one 210 MW Dadri unit tripped after which the entire Nathpa Jhakri generating station stopped some hours later due to a problem of high silt. ‘‘Due to the sudden reduction in generation at the load centre, the system’s voltage dropped lower than permissible limits. The reduction in generation was about 300 MW. Though Delhi had sufficient power, to maintain voltage, rotational shedding of around 100 MW was carried out on the advice of NRLDC (Northern Regional Load Dispatch Centre) from late Wednesday night,’’ said a Transco spokesperson.

For the last several days, as outages have been hampering life for Delhiites, the authorities concerned have been passing the buck. Discoms lay the blame on Transco for frequent tripping of lines, as well as the planned shutdowns of lines, like Badarpur-Okhla, for the Games. In addition, argue discoms, ‘‘If we get directions from NRLDC to limit drawing of power from the grid, how can the electricity supplier be held responsible?” In fact, power sector experts say that if Transco’s ‘‘poorly managed’’ transmission lines are responsible for some of Delhi’s outages, then they can be pulled up by regulator DERC as well.

The discoms also said a shutdown of Transco’s 50 MVA transformers in Okhla was adding to the bad power scenario in south Delhi colonies. Transco meanwhile stuck to its stand that while some lines could have tripped in the past due to technical glitches, they were fixed at the earliest. ‘‘And the shutdown of any lines for ongoing Commonwealth Games work has not been on our account,’’ said a Transco official.