Power demand slumped 27 per cent from 117 giga watt (gw) to 85 gw within about five minutes after 9 pm on Sunday as people switched off their home lights and lit up diyas (traditional earthen lamps) in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s lights-out call to show solidarity in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
National grid operator POSOCO and PowerGrid, the central utility that builds the national network, kept a hawk’s eye on the situation throughout the day, maintaining the northern region grid frequency at the ideal level of 50 Hz for the better part.
The robust protocol set by POSOCO to ensure grid stability kicked in about half an hour before zero hour under the hawk eye of power minister R K Singh and power secretary S N Sahai, who had stationed themselves at the National Load Despatch Centre (NLDC). The grid frequency was allowed to drop below 50 Hz about 15 minutes before 9 pm and then a tad below 49 Hz as generation was gradually ramped down. The lower frequency gave the headroom for generation units to gradually reduce output.
The atmosphere was electric, literally, at the NLDC as the minutes ticked by. But as soon as the lights-out period ended, demand started picking up, rising all the way to 110 gw. Singh congratulated the grid controllers and load despatchers across the country and executives of NTPC, PowerGrid, THDC and other generators for working as a team.
Households account for 33 per cent of the total demand, while industrial and agricultural load makes up 59 per cent of consumption.