Phase I – 30.07.2012
Entire north India plunged on 30.07.2012 into the worst power crisis in a decade throwing normal life out of gear for several hours in eight states with collapse of the northern grid.
Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir suffered the power outage. Besides, Union territory of Chandigarh was also snapped from the grid. Services of about 300 trains, including Rajdhani Express, Shatbadi Express and Duronto, were severely affected.
More than 8,000MW capacity of the country’s largest electricity producer NTPC, spread across six power plants, was hit. The reason however is not clearly known, as per the official statement of the Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.
Shinde announced a three-member panel to look into the power failure, the worst since 2002. He also said that power was drawn from Bhutan and eastern and western grids as generating stations in the north had come to a halt.
Phase II – 31.07.2012
A major power failure on 31.07.2012 has left hundreds of millions of people in 20 states in Northern and North eastern India (Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha) without power, making this one of the worst power outages in history. This is the second blackout to strike India in two days.
Phase I power outage, which affected 370 million people after the Northern Grid collapsed, beat the Java-Bali outage in Indonesia which had affected 100 million people in August, 2005. It broke 30.07.2012’s record the very next day. Collapse of the Northern, Eastern and North-Eastern grids threw 600 million people out of power.
The 1999 and 2009 outages in Brazil which affected 97 and 87 million people or the northeastern blackout in the US in 2003 that left 55 million people pale in comparison to what has been witnessed in India over the 48 hours of power struggle.
Reason behind grid crash
It has emerged that Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttarakhand ignored strong warnings from the Northern Regional Load Despatch Centre (NRLDC) and the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) to the States to maintain grid discipline and stop over-drawal from the grid.
The CERC directed that 16 States, including major violators, shall not resort to any over-drawal from the NEW (north-east-west) grid when the frequency is below 49.5 Hz and shall comply with the provision of grid code; the respondents shall ensure that the directions of the NRLDC are complied with and compliance reports sent immediately.
According to the order, this move is to ensure that the under frequency relays (UFRs) are kept in service at all times and the feeders used for load-shedding through UFRs are different from the feeders used for manual load-shedding so that the security of the grid is not compromised.
What is a grid code?
A grid code is a technical specification which defines the parameters a facility connected to a public electric network has to meet, to ensure safe, secure and economic proper functioning of the electric system. The facility can be electricity generating plant, a consumer, or any other network. The grid code is specified by an authority responsible for the system integrity and network operation. Its elaboration usually implicates network operators (distribution and/or transmission operators), representative of users and to, an extent varying between countries, the regulating body.
Counter argument from states
Northern Grid frequency statistics for 31.07.2012 suggest that the grid frequency from noon to 1pm hovered close to 50 hertz (Hz) as against the admissible frequency of 49.5 hertz. The grid crash occurred at 1:10pm, when the frequency was 50.19 Hz.
Statistics from the Haryana state load despatch centre indicate that there was no overdrawal of energy between noon and 1pm by the states. The grid frequency was 50.27 Hz at noon, 49.99 Hz at 12.15pm, 50.23 Hz at 12.30pm, 49.92 Hz at 12.45pm and 50.19 Hz at 1pm.
More than 20 hours after the country’s worst power failure, the three major electricity grids (the northern, eastern and north-eastern grids) that had collapsed have been restored, Power Grid said on 1.07.2012.
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