Indian power grid operators scramble to prepare for Modi’s ‘lights off’ plan
CHENNAI/MUMBAI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal to citizens to switch off lights across India on Sunday to mark the coronavirus fight is generating a lot more work and some tough challenges for India’s power sector workers.
On Friday, Modi appealed to Indians to turn out their lights for nine minutes at 9 p.m. on Sunday to show solidarity amid the coronavirus lockdown with a show of lamps, candles and flashlights.
The appeal, however, set off alarm bells for those in charge of India’s power grid, prompting a flurry of orders to officials manning generation plants and managing grid load, amid concerns that a surge in voltage due to a steep dip in demand could harm the grid and cause widespread outages.
India’s Power System Operation Corp (POSOCO), which oversees the national power grid, ordered all senior officials to be present at generating stations, substations and load despatch centers across India between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Sunday.
It advised engineers to start reducing output from baseload plants such as coal-fired power stations just ahead of 9 p.m. and ramp up generation from hydro and gas plants, typically used to address peak power demand, to manage the anticipated gyration in demand.
POSOCO expects consumption to dip by over 10% when Indians switch off lights, it said in an advisory sent to grid operators across the country, calling the expected reduction in load and rapid recovery, “unprecedented”. – Reuters