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Home News Power Sector News CEA preparing sensitive imports list for power sector

CEA preparing sensitive imports list for power sector

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CEAIndia's top power sector planning body is preparing a list of imports such as software for electricity grids that may have security implications. The exercise is part of an effort to put in place a security framework aimed at warding off sabotage of power plants and other vital installations.  The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) is conducting the exercise against the backdrop of the massive power transmission failures in July that left around 700 million people without electricity.
"A few discussions have been held. CEA is preparing a list of such sensitive imports. In the case of power sector, such sensitive equipment is not hardware but software," said a top power ministry official, requesting anonymity.
There have been concerns about the likelihood of embedded technology being used to cripple India's infrastructure in sectors such as telecommunications and power, among others.
Similar lists are also being prepared at other ministries such as ports and shipping. These lists are being prepared after consultations by a committee of secretaries (CoS) on the issue.
"Each ministry will finalize a list of equipment as per their concerns. This was decided by the CoS," said the power ministry official cited above.
There have been instances in the past when India stopped giving clearances to telecom equipment imported from China after security concerns were expressed by the ministry of home affairs and the Prime Minister's Office. India this year imposed import duty on power generation equipment that will affect Chinese manufacturers.
CEA chairman A.S. Bakshi didn't respond to phone calls or to a message left on his cellphone.
India's worst grid failure earlier this year fuelled sabotage concerns, with investigations carried out by the Intelligence Bureau (IB), the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) and CERT-In (the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team). A grid collapse is the worst-case scenario for any transmission utility; if this happens, states that draw power from that particular network go without electricity.
The Gireesh Pradhan committee's Manpower, Certification and Incentives for System Operation report drew attention to the security of India's electricity grid. In the 2008 report, the committee said: "The primary function of LDCs (load dispatch centres) remains that of ensuring reliability of electricity grids but with the large interconnections, vulnerability has increased and new threat perception in the form of cyber security, sabotage, natural calamities, etc. have become important."
Rupesh Sankhe, senior analyst, power and capital goods at Karvy Stock Broking Ltd, welcomed the move, given the concerns regarding cyber attacks on Indian infrastructure, particularly electricity transmission grids, since "Chinese companies have taken a lion's share of the market away from Indian companies due to their cost advantage."
Load management functions are overseen by the state-owned Power Grid Corp. of India Ltd (PGCIL) and carried out by its subsidiary, Power System Operation Corp. Ltd (Posoco). Regional load dispatch centres, or RLDCs, are under the purview of PGCIL and responsible for maintaining grid discipline and supervising optimum scheduling and delivery of electricity in their regions.
"We don't have any Chinese equipment or software in our RLDCs. We do use Chinese transformers, reactors and insulators as hardware which are of good quality," said a top PGCIL executive, requesting anonymity.
PGCIL owns and operates around 95,009 circuit km of transmission lines. The country has 33 state load despatch centres, five RLDCs, and a national load despatch centre. India has installed power generation capacity of 207,876 megawatts (MW) and plans to add around 88,537MW during the 12th Plan (2012-17).
The security concerns assume greater significance after the national grid is created in 2014.
Of the five regional grids in the country—northern, southern, eastern, north-eastern and western—all except the southern one are interconnected. The grid's capacity to transfer electricity across the country is targeted to increase to 65,550MW by 2017 from the present level of 277,50MW.

 

Source- Mint

 

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