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States told not to overdraw power
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 6
Amid the worsening power situation in North India, the Power Ministry today warned states, including Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi, against overdrawing power from the grid as it could result in collapse of the grid, that had been facing a power deficit of over 4000 MW.

“We have asked the states not to overdraw power from the northern grid beyond their allotted quota as it results in sharp fall of frequency below 49 htz. Some states have been found overdrawing power, leading to fall in frequency up to 48 htz”, said Power Secretary R.V. Shahi after a two-hour meeting with Chief Secretaries and Power Secretaries of the states here today.

He said to discourage states from overdrawing power from the grid, the ministry would approach the Central Electricity Authority to raise a charge of Rs 5.70 per unit if the frequency fell below the minimum level.

The grid frequency had drastically fallen after Uttar Pradesh and Delhi were found overdrawing power.

The meeting was held in the wake of a major grid collapse having been averted by the northern region load dispatch centre recently, when the Badarpur and Pragati power plant had to be shut after fire at the Ballabgarh substation.

Ministry officials warned states that if they continued to overdraw power, the northern grid could collapse, resulting in loss of industrial production worth hundreds of crores and affecting railway, hospital and other services.

Admitting severe shortage of power, Mr Shahi said, “We have urged the state governments and power utilities to defer maintenance work of power plants in May, though it is not generally recommended”.

He ruled out drastic measures like mandatory shutting down of commercial establishments.

The Power Secretary said another meeting would be held on May 31 to review the power situation, adding that some states, including Uttar Pradesh, had asked to close shops by 7 pm and Delhi had issued an advisory to shopkeepers to wind up by 7.30 pm.

“We have appealed to the state governments and people to save power by at least 10 per cent, especially during peak hours, that should be sufficient to deal with the present crisis”, he said.

The situation had been slowly improving, but the demand-supply mismatch still continued, he said, adding that with the start of supply of 1,600 MW from the Nathpa Jhakri project in Himachal Pradesh and the commissioning of the 250-MW wind power project in Rajasthan by May-end, the situation would improve.

Punjab Chief Secretary K.R. Lakhanpal said, “The power situation is likely to worsen by June 10, when paddy sowing will start and demand will be at its peak. We have urged the Power Ministry to ensure that the state is able to evacuate 1200 MW of power from eastern states, for which we have entered into contracts”.

He said due to overloading of transmission lines, the state had been able to evacuate only 600 MW of power from the eastern region, leading to a power crisis in the state, adding that the power deficit in the state was around 1,500 MW.

Punjab had also asked the Centre to direct the BHEL to speed up the construction of the Lehra Mohabbat power plant, where two units of 500 MW (2x250 MW) were expected to be commissioned by December, 2006, and April, 2007, he said, adding that the BHEL was saying the project would be delayed by six months due to some changes in design for seismic reasons.

Mr Lakhanpal said Punjab had also asked the Power Ministry to ensure the state’s share of 40 MW from Himachal Pradesh as under the agreement Punjab, Haryana and Delhi had to get 120 MW under the free power quota.

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