MERC suo moto convenes virtual hearing on Oct 21

Taking serious note of the power breakdown following grid failure in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) on October 12, the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has suo moto convened a virtual hearing on October 21. The regulator’s move is crucial as the Energy Minister Nitin Raut has claimed the possibility of sabotage or Cyber Attack cannot be ruled out behind Monday’s power failure.

The regulator on Saturday served notice to the Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Company (MahaTransco) for the proposed hearing.

MERC Secretary Abhijit Deshpande has asked the State Load Dispatch Centre (SLDC) to submit information by October 19 on system condition prior to the grid failure, details of outage management on the infrastructure affected, status of islanding facility and the reason for its failure, generation loss and units tripped and preliminary analysis of the grid failure.

MERC during the proposed hearing will cover the reasons of grid failure, whether the standard protocol was followed to restore the grid and reason for non-restoration of grid immediately. It will also expect explanations from MahaTransco and SLDC on the actions expected from all stakeholders after the grid collapse and the individual performance, status of Mumbai islanding, current status of the schemes proposed for strengthening of the Mumbai transmission by state transmission utility. This is important as despite repeated MERC’s directives and announcements by the state government, Mumbai continues to face transmission constraints.

The MERC will also expect details with regard to the Mumbai islanding and its relevance in the changed scenario. The islanding, which started way back in 1981, failed after a sudden rise in load on October 12. The regulator will also seek an action plan for preventing recurrence of grid collapse in MMR in future.

The MERC’s move comes days after the Power System Operation Corporation (POSOCO) and Western Regional Load Dispatch Centre (WRLDC) in the report said following the grid disturbance the total generation loss on Monday was around 1,060 mw comprising 840 mw of Tata Power generation and 220 mw at Uran gas station of the MahaGenco. Further, the total load loss was 2,600 mw comprising Mumbai’s load loss of 2,200 mw and Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, Bhiwandi and Thane together of 400 mw. MERC's timing is crucial especially when the blame game has begun among power utilities over Monday's breakdown.

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