<p>New Union power minister M Veerappa Moily has ordered third-party evaluation within a month of grid protection systems. This comes after last week’s historic grid collapses across more than half the country, seemingly due to states’ refusal to abide by the rules on over-drawal.
Regional power committees would monitor the audit, with the first one to be done by centrally-run Power Grid, the minister told the press after a day-long meeting with chief ministers and representatives of eight northern state government. Among those who attended were Delhi’s Sheila Dikshit, Rajasthan’s Ashok Gehlot and Uttarakhand’s Vijay Bahuguna.
The state governments had come under intense fire after last week’s blackout, the largest in the world, with allegations that drawing of excessive power from the grid by at least three – Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana – had led to the collapse. “A few states overdraw as they find it convenient not to pay immediately. This behaviour is irresponsible and I would urge you to review this,” Moily told the CMs.
Moily also expanded the committee set up by his ministry to probe the happening. Three additional members were added to the panel — former special director of the Central Bureau of Investigation, Balwinde Singh; former member of the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission, A Velayutham; and Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, professor, S C Srivastava. The panel is chaired by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) chairman, A S Bakshi.
Moily also said the government was working on a proposal to isolate essential services from the impact of any future failure, with an “islanding scheme”. States will prepare such schemes in consultation with Power Grid, the CEA and the Northern Regional Power Committee (NRPC) within three months. The scheme will be implemented within six months.