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Tuesday, July 31, 2012



[The failure on Tuesday affected roughly twice as many people as the massive power outage the previous day, when the northern power grid failed and left more than 300 million people without power for several hours. No official reason for the Monday's failure has been given, although some local news reports pointed fingers at state governments which were overdrawing power.]
 Rajesh Kumar Singh/Associated Press
Vehicles clogged streets in New Delhi after a power outage disrupted
 traffic lights and the city's rail services.
NEW DELHI — About 600 million people lost power in India on Tuesday when the country's northern and eastern electricity grids failed, crippling the country for a second consecutive day.
The outage stopped hundreds of trains in their tracks, darkened traffic lights, shuttered the Delhi Metro and left nearly everyone — the police, water utilities, private businesses and citizens — without electricity. About half of India's population of 1.2 billion people was without power.
India, however, has an unofficial power grid in the form of huge numbers of backup diesel generators and other private power sources. That kept electricity flowing in everything from private residences and small and large businesses to hospitals and major airports.
Manoranjan Kumar, an economic adviser with the Ministry of Power, said in a telephone interview that the grids had failed and that the ministry was working to figure out the source of the problem. The northern and eastern grids cover 11 states and the capital city of Delhi, stretching from India's northern tip in Kashmir to Rajasthan to West Bengal's capital of Kolkata.
The failure happened without warning just after 1 p.m., electric company officials said.
"We seem to have plunged into another power failure, and the reasons why are not at all clear," said Gopal K. Saxena, the chief executive of BSES, an electric company that services South Delhi, in a telephone interview. It may take a long time to restore power to north India, he said, because the eastern grid has also failed, and alternate power sources in Bhutan and the Indian state of Sikkim flow into the east first.
About two hours after the grid failure, power ministry authorities said some alternate arrangements had been made. "We are taking hydro power from Bhakhra Nangal Dam," in northern India, said Sushil Kumar Shinde, the power minister, in a televised interview.
India has struggled to generate enough power of its own to fuel businesses and light homes, and the country relies on huge imports of coal and oil to power its own plants. But supply and demand may not explain away this week's grid failures, power executives said.
The failure on Tuesday affected roughly twice as many people as the massive power outage the previous day, when the northern power grid failed and left more than 300 million people without power for several hours. No official reason for the Monday's failure has been given, although some local news reports pointed fingers at state governments which were overdrawing power.
That assessment is too simplistic, Mr. Saxena, of BSES, said. There are controls in place on India's electricity grids that override an outsized power demand. "We have one of the most robust, smart grids operating" in the world, he said. It would "not be wise" to give an assessment of what happened at this time, he added.
Institutions without a private backup system were shuttered. All trains stopped in the Delhi Metro, which carries nearly 2 million passengers a day. Trains were pulled to the closest stations using battery back up, and then evacuated, a spokeswoman for the Delhi Metro said, and the stations have been locked. "We had never anticipated such a thing," the spokeswoman said.
A trade body, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, or Assocham, said that Monday's power problem "totally disturbed the normal life and has severely impacted the economic activities."
"While on the one hand it is a pity that over 26,000 megawatts of power stations are idle due to the nonavailability of coal, on the other one grid failure has brought the system collapsed," said the group's secretary general D.S. Rawat, noting that "the entire power situation at present is headed for disaster."
Niharika Mandhana and Hari Kumar contributed to this story from New Delhi.

The New York Times

Privatisation of electricity and Monsoon deficit take the toll! World`s Biggest Black Out! Entire Northern, North Eastern, Western and Eastern power girds collapsed!Leading to power failure in several States of the country affecting hundreds of millions of people.

By Palash Biswas

Yes, it is the world`s Biggest Balck Out! A massive power failure hit India for the second day running as three regional power grids collapsed, blacking out more than half the country. Hundreds of miners were trapped underground in the eastern state of West Bengal when the lifts failed, metro services came to halt temporarily in the capital and hundreds of trains were held up nationwide. The whole Northern Grid collapsed yesterday for over six hours. From Rashtrapati Bhavan to small villages in the nine states of North India, there was no power during that time. Restoration has been slow. There was a blackout everywhere in hospitals, hotels, schools, colleges or homes etc. 'The last time the Northern Grid had collapsed was in early 2001, on a cold day of the season. Then, I was the chairman of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), created in 1998' - the first Chairman of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission writes.

For the second day in a row, North India found itself without power. This time, the extent of the crisis was much worse - the East, West and even North East were affected too. The northern, north eastern, western and eastern grids tripped on Tuesday, leading to power failure in several States of the country affecting hundreds of millions of people. While the northern grid collapsed for the second time in two days, the eastern transmission lines too failed on Tuesday afternoon, said officials at the Power Ministry and electricity companies. Power supply was disrupted in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, West Bengal, Assam and Punjab, among other States.hose in Government find it easiest to pass the buck. The states blame the Centre. The Centre blames the states. Power is on the Concurrent List of the Constitution. Both the Centre and states must share the blame.The responsibility for distributing available power inefficiently falls on the states.The Central Electricity Authority (CEA), the main advisory body to the Union power minister, has set a target of 100,000 MW of additional power generation in the 12th five-year plan between 2012 and 2017. That is what is needed to meet the power demand of an economy forecast to grow at 9 per cent per annum. The Planning Commission accepts this target but Environment Ministry does not, which says that the target is "ecologically unsustainable". The fallout of the nuclear accident in Japan means that thermal power is back at the forefront. Hydro power continues to flounder because of concerns over rehabilitation and resettlement.

This seems to be a greater conspiracy as the Private companies managing Electricity often blackmail the government for hike in tarriffs to boost their profit. Deregulated electricity has the same story worldwide. For instance, the Company managing Electricity in New Delhi is garnering enough profit since 2008. Despite this, the prices were modified in favour of the company. But the company wants more. It is very common to bargain for higher rates showcasing Power crisis. What happened exactly. Mind, you, the government faced calls for urgent reform of the power sector Tuesday, after a monster blackout triggered the collapse of the entire northern grid, affecting more than 300 million people. Leading the high-decibel reform choir were business lobby groups who said Monday's outage -- the worst to hit the country in a decade -- underlined the government's inability to address India's perennial electricity shortfall. 

"The north, northeastern and the eastern grids are down but we are working and we will have them restored shortly," Naresh Kumar, a spokesperson at the Powergrid Corporation of India, told AFP.

Federal Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told reporters that the monster outage, which struck in the middle of the working day, was caused by states drawing power "beyond their permissible limits."

There appeared to have been a domino effect, with the northern grid drawing too heavily on the eastern grid which in turn led the northeastern grid to collapse.

"Half the country is without power. It's a situation totally without precedent," said Vivek Pandit, an energy expert at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

Privatisation of electricity and Monsoon deficit take the toll!Grid failure hit India for a second day on Tuesday, cutting power to hundreds of millions of people in the populous northern and eastern states including the capital Delhi and major cities such as Kolkata.Privatization is the means to introducing competition in the electricity market, not an end in itself. Genuine competition would imply that electricity consumers are actually free to choose from competing service providers: this is simply not the situation in case of franchisees.In some of the states, it has been decided to hand over the urban feeders to the franchise!Is privatization is the solution to the ailing power sector. This seems to be a question needing a thorough analysis and transparent intention of the government. Any thing done in the good spirit will yield fruits, but if intention is not good the success of any attempt is doubtful. The loss in the urban feeder is much less as compared to the losses in rural feeders. The government should impose a pre condition that the revenue input based franchisee interested in taking up urban substation should also take proportionate rural feeder on the revenue input based franchisee basis. The electricity utility is required to generate return on equity to be decided by CERC, this was 14% for the tariff year 2008-09 but this was not taken into account by the UPERC while arriving at the tariff due to poor performance of this sector. Return on equity measures a corporation's profitability by revealing how much profit a company generates with the money shareholders have invested. 

In economic terms, electricity (both power and energy) is a commodity capable of being bought, sold and traded. An electricity market is a system for effecting purchases, through bids to buy; sales, through offers to sell; and short-term trades, generally in the form of financial or obligation swaps. Bids and offers use supply and demand principles to set the price. Long-term trades are contracts similar to power purchase agreements and generally considered private bi-lateral transactions between counterparties.

Wholesale transactions (bids and offers) in electricity are typically cleared and settled by the market operator or a special-purpose independent entity charged exclusively with that function. Market operators do not clear trades but often require knowledge of the trade in order to maintain generation and load balance. The commodities within an electric market generally consist of two types: power and energy. Power is the metered net electrical transfer rate at any given moment and is measured in megawatts (MW). Energy is electricity that flows through a metered point for a given period and is measured in megawatt hours (MWh).

Markets for energy related commodities are net generation output for a number of intervals usually in increments of 5, 15 and 60 minutes. Markets for power related commodities required by, managed by (and paid for by) market operators to ensure reliability, are considered ancillary services and include such names as spinning reserve, non-spinning reserve, operating reserves, responsive reserve, regulation up, regulation down, and installed capacity.
In addition, for most major operators, there are markets for transmission congestion and electricity derivatives, such as electricity futures and options, which are actively traded. These markets developed as a result of the restructuring of electric power systems around the world. This process has often gone on in parallel with the restructuring of natural gas markets.

I don`t know how to work today. We suffered Load shedding already. and now Electricity may go off anytime.AsThe entire northern and eastern power girds collapsed on Tuesday afternoon, knocking off electricity in the entire metro services have come to a halt in Delhi, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and Orissa. 

NTPC, as the principal generator supplying the northern states, did not cut generation. PowerGrid, the inter-state transmission utility that controlled the state load dispatch centres and had moment-to-moment information on demand and supply of power, was not alert enough to take corrective action.

The central government, which owned NTPC and had determined its tariffs and incentives, gave it an incentive to produce at more than its plant load factor of 64 per cent. This was because the imperative in those years (as it is now) was to generate as much electricity as possible. But NTPC was already producing at 80 per cent plant load factor (PLF) and was earning incentives without any special effort. Any backing down of generation by NTPC would have meant serious loss of earnings. So, it kept pumping electricity on to the grid, even as demand was low. This led to the frequency soaring and the grid's collapse.

The Delhi Metro came to a standstill yet again on Tuesday afternoon after services were suspended for two hours due to collapse of the Northern Power Grid for the second consecutive day.Traffic was thrown out of gear in the capital this afternoon when signals went blank following power failure across north India.

Huge traffic jams were reported from various parts of the capital, including Connaught Place, ITO, Ashoka Road, India Gate and Laxmi Nagar.

Mamata blames Centre for Grid failure but says will work with Centre to get past the crisis.

- Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee announces a holiday in the state to enable people to reach their homes safely in the wake of Eastern Grid failure.

The failure of North-Eastern grid has affected power units of Damodar Valley Corporation in Jharkhand with several parts of the state going without electricity.

"Several units ceased to work following the failure of North-Eastern Grid section," DVC Chief Engineer (Chandrapura power unit) R Basuri said.

Mizia Thermal Power, Durgapur Thermal Power, Bokaro Thermal Power and Maithon Hydel Power in Jharkhand and neighbouring West Bengal are under the DVC, he said.

The West Bengal government on Tuesday declared a holiday in its offices after 3:00pm following the grid failure to enable employees to return home early, especially those who commute by train.

"We have taken a decision to declare a holiday in state government offices after 3:00 PM so that the employees can return home early in the absence of trains which are not running due to power failure," Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told reporters at Writers' Buildings.

She said private offices were also requested to declare a holiday similarly in the interest of employees.

Stating that it might take 10 to 12 hours for restoration of normal power supply, she asked TV channels not to create panic over the issue.

Banerjee said she held an emergency meeting and spoke to the Railways to restart normal services within two to three hours and to see if trains could be run with diesel engines in the suburban sections.

The chief minister said Metro Rail services in Kolkata were unaffected.

Transport arrangements were being arranged for people by bus and lorry, she said.

Banerjee said the state government was not responsible for the power failure and that it was the fallout of the power outage in the northern grid.

"The crisis started from northern India with the failure of the mother grid and after the trippings there, a complex situation developed which impacted the eastern grid affecting all parts of the state, besides Bihar and Orissa," she said.

She said that a monitoring committee was formed led by private power utility, CESC limited.

- Power restored in the NDMC area and the Delhi Metro; Power restored to hospitals as well; Power restored through Delhi's own production; A little bit of normalisation can be seen in northern grid as well.

- Power restored in some parts of Odisha by getting power from the Southern Grid and the state hydro power.

- Partial services restored on all Delhi Metro lines with a frequency of ten minutes, to begin with, from 1450 hrs: Delhi Metro

- Delhi traffic signals not working. Delhi Traffic Police trying to regulate manually, maximum deployment on major points.

- Traffic heavy on Ring Road, ITO, Bagga Link, Outer Circle Connaught Place.

- The core issue is nothing but indiscipline: Anil Razdan, ex-power secretary

- Train movement on Delhi-Mathura rail route has begun.

- Partial metro services restored in all metro lines.

- Delhi Metro says power partially restored, train services to resume soon: Sources

- Power supply has been completely restored: Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Hospital

- East India 20 per cent power restored, North East 50 per cent power restored; Mizoram, Manipur, Tripura completely back to normalcy: Sources

- Delhi-Howrah rail route partially restored: CPRO Railways

- Power partially restored in East and North East: sources

- 3000MW overdrawn from the eastern grid, demand strict punishment for overdrawing: Sushil Kumar Shinde

- Wrong to allege that UP is overdrawing power, says UP Power Corporation CMD AP Mishra.

- Bhakra Nangal plant has been started and we are drawing hydel power for the time being for Punjab: Sushil Kumar Shinde

- Western Grid not impacted: Western Grid General Manger

- North Eastern Grid also affected, say officials.

- Kolkata Metro running normal, as supply comes from CAC power supply: Pratyush, DGM of Kolkata Metro.

- We will try to restore services of Delhi Metro and the Railways first: Sushil Kumar Shinde

- South Eastern Railway: Four divisions including Kharargpur, Chakradharpur, Ranchi and Agra are affected. Since South Eastern Railway is completely electrified and not dependent on diesel power, the situation is really bad in this region.

- Eighty passenger trains of South Eastern Railway stranded.

- Fourteen trains in Agra Division stranded.

- States affected: Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Delhi, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha, Assam and Sikkim.

- Hydel power giving power to Punjab: Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde

- Trying to make alternate arrangements: Shinde

- Almost 500 trains of the Indian Railway stuck.

- Six zones including Northern Railway, Eastern Railway, North Central Railway affected: Anil Saxena, CPRO Railways

- Train services halted in Asansol, Sealdah, Howrah divisions in West Bengal after failure of Eastern grid at 1:00 PM: Railways.

- Delhi Police advisory to avoid Connaught Place area.

- Central Electricity Regulatory Commission issued an order on July 30 to curb overdrawing by Northern Grid member states.

- All heads of State Power Transmission Companies of Northern Grid summoned on August 14.

- The states who have been held responsible for maximum over-drawing are Uttar Pradesh (average daily over-drawing by 26 million units), Haryana (average daily over-drawing by 13 million units), Punjab (average daily over-drawing by 5.2 million units).

- Chaos on roads in Delhi with the metro rails and the traffic lights not working.

- Additional Secretary, Power, has reached the Power Monitoring Centre.

- LNJP Hospital in Delhi says they are not facing any powercut at the moment. Other hospitals like AIIMS and Safdarjung say they have enough power back up for the time being.

- Power grid statement says all essential services will be restored in next two hours.

- Narora Atomic Power Station in Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh is the only power plant that is working.
- Air services unaffected, flights on time from Delhi.

- DMRC officials have also asked government if hydel project in Bhutan can be used again today to run essential services.

- WB Power Secretary says no power likely till late night.

- Bokaro steel plant will have to be shut down if the power crisis continues.

- CPRO Northern Railways says alternative arrangements like diesel power are being considered.

- CPRO Northern Railways says about 100 trains are affected. Worst affected sections include the Ambala-Palwal and the Ghaziabad-Mugalsarai sections.

- 100 Megawatt of emergency power is being given to VVIP areas.

- Hospitals across the north and east in darkness. All government hospitals have switched to in-house power back-up. ICUs can be operated comfortably for few hours at least.

- Work on to provide more emergency power

- Actual location of the fault is still not known

- DMRC is refunding the passengers and evacuating them

For the second time in two days, half of India plunged into darkness after the Northern and the Eastern Grids collapsed, affecting all seven states in the north and the states of Sikkim, Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Jharkhand in the

 It's peak summer in most parts of India. Demand for power is at a peak of 2,17,000 mega watt. Our power generation, however, is much less at 1,99,877 mega watt. Poor transmission and distribution makes it even worse.
Many cities such as Chennai, Bangalore and the capital itself, Delhi, have long power cuts.
Forty per cent of the country does not get electricity at all. About six lakh villages do not have any network to receive electricity.

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