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NEW DELHI : Given the overdrawal by Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Jammu and Kashmir due to electricity shortage, the Northern Region Load Dispatch Centre (NRLDC) has invoked Section-29 of the Electricity Act and asked the respective state load despatch centres (SLDCs) to properly estimate demand and maintain grid discipline to ensure grid security.

Under Section-29 of the Act, a Regional Load Despatch Centre (RLDC) “may give such directions and exercise such supervision and control as may be required for ensuring stability of grid operations and for achieving the maximum economy and efficiency in the operation of the power system in the region under its control."

State-run Power System Operation Corp Ltd (Posoco) oversees the country’s critical electricity load management functions through the NLDC, RLDCs and SLDCs. India has 33 SLDCs, five RLDCs—for the five regional grids that form the national grid—and one NLDC.

According to communications from NRLDC to SLDCs reviewed by Mint, NRLDC said, “it is being observed that adequate spinning reserves are not available all the times in the region. In such a scenario, any further generation reduction due to tripping of machines and over-drawl by beneficiaries may lead to serious threat to grid security."

While Haryana is reporting shortages in the range of 1.5 to 1.7 million units (MUs), Jammu and Kashmir is facing shortage of 3.45 MUs. Also, Punjab is facing shortages in the range of 1 to 5 MUs and Rajasthan’s shortages are in the range of 1 to 1.5 MUs. Uttar Pradesh is reporting shortages in the range of 0.5 to 1.16 MUs.

“It may be aware that as per section 5.3 of the IEGC (Indian Electricity Grid Code), all SLDCs are required to plan meticulously and carry out demand estimation of their respective control areas for operational purposes. Further, as per IEGC section 5.2 (m) all users, SEB (state electricity board), SLDCs, RLDCs, and NLDC shall take all possible measures to ensure that the grid frequency always remains within the 49.90-50.05 Hz (hertz) band," the communication said.

This comes in the backdrop of India’s grid collapse in 2012. India’s worst blackout left nearly 620 million people across 19 states and three Union territories without electricity for hours together when the northern grid collapsed on 31 July 2012, and, in a wider blackout, the northern, eastern and north-eastern grids broke down on 1 August 2012.

Queries emailed to the spokespersons of union power ministry on Monday evening wasn’t immediately answered. Officials of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Jammu and Kashmir couldn’t be immediately contacted.

“Properly estimate demand of the control area on daily/weekly/monthly basis and arrange procurement of power on short term basis, after duly assessing the intra-state generation availability, so that load shedding/over-drawl may be prevented during peak hours," the communication said.

India’s daily electricity consumption has crossed 4 billion units , resulting in an 18% spike in coal consumption during August-September 2021 compared to the corresponding period in 2019. Fuel stocks at India’s power plants had depleted to 7.3 mt on 7 October and 8 October.

“Drawl from the grid may be maintained strictly as per schedule by flexing internal generation and revising requisition in ISGS (Inter State Generating Station) stations including gas-based generation on bar in RLNG and liquid fuel and purchase of power through STOA (short term open access)," the communication said.

This comes in the backdrop of a coal shortage that coincided with a sharp spike in electricity demand, growth in number of electricity consumers, and inadequate stocking up by power projects before the monsoon. Also, heavy rains in September impacted coal production and dispatch and non-payments of coal dues also contributed towards inadequate supply.

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