National Grid's rising demand forces power outages in Kashmir

The National Grid is owned, and maintained by the state-owned Power Grid Corporation of India and operated by the state-owned Power System Operation Corporation.
Reports of power curtailments at Iftyaari and Sehri amid holy month of Ramadan have been coming from various areas of Kashmir.
Reports of power curtailments at Iftyaari and Sehri amid holy month of Ramadan have been coming from various areas of Kashmir. File: Mubashir Khan/ GK

Srinagar: Kashmir is grappling with power outages as the National Grid is facing rising demand forcing Kashmir Power Development Corporation Limited to resort to load shedding during peak time, particularly during Sehri and Iftaar time.

The National Grid is the high-voltage electricity transmission network in India, connecting power stations and major substations and ensuring that electricity generated anywhere in India can be used to satisfy demand elsewhere.

The National Grid is owned, and maintained by the state-owned Power Grid Corporation of India and operated by the state-owned Power System Operation Corporation.

Since the middle of March, the grid has routinely reported maximum loads above 195,000 MW, including a peak of 199,584 MW on April 8 - less than 0.5 percent below the record.

As Jammu and Kashmir majority of the power supply from the National Grid, the peaking demand has left the UT with limited power supply as local power generation is not enough to meet the demand.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, Chief Engineer, Kashmir Power Development Corporation Limited (KPDCL), Javid Yusuf said that it is not the problem in Kashmir alone, but across India where power discoms are grappling with power outages due to gaps in demand and supply.

"It has nothing to due to Ramadhan, till 3am our demand is 1000 MWs, which peaks to 1650 MWs at Sehri time, as a result of which we have resort to power curtailments. This year March has been the hottest in over 122 years, summer has set early, all India power demand is near 2 lakh MWs is near an all-time high record."

"There has hardly been any precipitation during March, in Kashmir, we are rain deficit by 70 per cent, though in Kashmir our power generation capacity has not been affected, in Chenab Valley, power projects are generating lesser electricity which is affecting the over dynamics, besides the National Grid load is facing peak demand. We are getting electricity from National Grid as per the National Load Despatch which implies as the grid’s demand increases it automatically disconnects supply."

As per reports, the grid's frequency has faltered since mid-March, dropping persistently below target, with longer and more severe excursions below the safe operating range.

Chronic under-frequency is a sign the grid cannot meet the full demand from customers and makes planned load-shedding or unplanned blackouts much more likely.

India has a frequency target of 50.00 cycles per second (Hertz), with grid controllers tasked with keeping it steady bet .. India has a frequency target of 50.00 cycles per second (Hertz), with grid controllers tasked with keeping it steady between 49.90 Hz and 50.05 Hz to maintain the network in a safe and reliable condition.

Grid controls begin to disconnect some loads automatically if the frequency slows to 49.2 Hz with further load shedding at 49.0 Hz, 48.8 Hz and 48.6 Hz.

Chief Engineer said that otherwise, in March we had a good supply and there were hardly any cuts, but due to this situation, we have no option but to resort to power cuts. Meanwhile, the power cuts during Iftar and Sehri times are irking the consumers in Kashmir.

"Though the government claims of enhancing power generation capacity on the ground, it is still dependent on outside supplies to meet power demand in Kashmir which is unfortunate as Kashmir has huge water resources to generate hydropower," said Mujtaba Ahmad, a Srinagar resident.

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