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Home News Power Sector News Overdrawing - CERC warns distribution utilities

Overdrawing - CERC warns distribution utilities

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CERCThe Central power regulator has warned distribution companies that they face punitive action for drawing too much electricity from the grid, which nearly collapsed because of indiscipline by utilities when coal shortage hit generation. The cash-strapped distribution companies, already facing heavy losses, will now have to buy more power from the open market, where prices have quadrupled in recent weeks because of the unprecedented coal shortage.

"Continued and unabated overdrawal from the grid has the potential for grid failure which has serious ramification on the essential services and economy of the country," chairman of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, Pramod Deo, said. He said state utilities were not at liberty to make up the shortfall in their scheduled drawal by overdrawing from the grid.

When distribution companies draw too much electricity, the frequency of the grid falls, making the system vulnerable. In the north-east-west grid, the frequency dipped below the critical level of 49.5 Hz in 70% of the period between Sept 23 and Oct 6 as Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan pulled out more electricity than agreed. Deo said Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh also drew too much power, endangering the southern grid.

The Northern Regional Load Despatch Center (NRLDC), the agency responsible for grid security, approached the commission against state utilities that drew more than committed quantity of electricity.

A senior NRLDC official said though condition of the grid has improved with increased availability of power over the last week, punitive measures were necessary to avert similar situation in the near future. Of the 89 coal based projects in the country, 32 are still running with a supercritical fuel stock of less than four days. Fifteen projects have fuel to operate less than seven days.

The cash-strapped distribution utilities do not have any contingency measure in place to address situation of shortage of supply of power in future. The regulator has also asked the northern states to explain the necessity of over drawing from grid. State utilities said the move was necessary to avoid power cuts as many coal-based projects stopped operating due to coal shortage during the fortnight.

In its interim order, the commission directed state utilities to purchase power from short-term open markets as they are informed about availability a day ahead.

A senior Uttar Pradesh government official said over drawing from the grid was the only option with states as short-term purchases required more time and efforts.

Source- Economic Times

 

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