Power grids not to be affected during Sunday’s blackout, KSEB dismisses rumours

Power grids not to be affected during Sunday’s blackout, KSEB dismisses rumours
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Thiruvananthapuram: Interstate power lines would not be affected in any manner by switching off the lights for nine minutes at 9 pm on Sunday, the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) informed.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had appealed to all citizens to switch off lights on Sunday in a symbolic gesture as the nation battles COVID-19.

The KSEB clarification came in the wake of talk doing the rounds on social media that the nation-wide switching off lights would drastically reduce the power consumption damaging electric lines and leading to power supply disruption.

Allaying fears of electricity grid failure, the central power ministry also said these apprehensions are misplaced and all protocols are in place to handle the fluctuation in demand.

The KSEB pointed out that on an average 3,400-3,500 megawatts (MW) of power was consumed on Sunday nights.

If the lights are switched off, there is likely to be a decrease in load of just 350MW, the KSEB estimates.

During the Earth Hour observance to create awareness on climate change, lights are switched off for half-an-hour all over the world. A reduction of 200 to 300 MW in power consumption is routinely noted in Kerala during these times. And Power grids are not affected in any way.

The KSEB said power consumption generally reduces by about 700MW during summer rains. Solar projects in India have the capacity to generate 40,000MW of power. This solar power generation is typically slashed by half when the skies are cloudy. None of these have affected the functioning of the grid so far.

The national power grid, comprising the interstate lines, have the capacity to withstand the variation in load, irrespective of an increase or reduction in consumption. When the generation in one region is affected, the shortfall is made up for by additional units from other regions. The grids function in such a way that even a total disruption in the power generation in Idukki would not affect the power supply in Kerala.

50 Hz is the normal frequency of the country’s power supply. An increase or decrease in the frequency can damage lines and generators. All generators with a capacity of 10MW and above are designed to automatically reduce generation when the frequency is raised.

If frequency is reduced, power generation automatically increases. So a dip in consumption on Sunday will not affect the grid, authorities clarified.

Domestic lighting consumes a maximum of 50W power. Therefore, switching off lights at homes will not reduce the consumption drastically. Even as houses switch off lights on Sunday night, street lights, which consume more power, will be on.

The National Load Despatch Centre has issued special instructions to states to tackle any scenario due to the blackout on Sunday night. These include ramping up the generation of hydropower at 9pm on Sunday when the lights are switched off. This will help in meeting the additional power demand when lights are switched on en masse after nine minutes.

All senior officials have to be on duty during this time.

The KSEB also requested the public to not to believe in fake messages on social media, asking people to turn off the main switch of their house at 9 pm on Sunday. Only the light bulbs need to be switched off, all other electrical appliances can continue to function, it said.

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