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Jan 16, 2013, 03.49 PM IST | Source: PTI

Power Min trying to strengthen transmission system

In order to strengthen country's power transmission system, so as to avoid grid collapse that was seen last year, the Power Ministry is formulating new regulation to ease pressure on Power Grid Corporation.

In order to strengthen country's power transmission system, so as to avoid grid collapse that was seen last year, the Power Ministry is formulating new regulation to ease pressure on Power Grid Corporation.

The country needs proper transmission planning in order to avert a situation that could lead to widespread power failure, a top ministry official said.

"Although a lot of generation capacity is coming up in states, there is no proper transmission plan," Power Secretary P Uma Shankar said on the sidelines of a Ficci event.

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"We need to look at regulation to see that transmission is done properly. We need to ensure that (power) generating stations need to ask for medium and long term open access, that is why transmission planning is required," Shankar said.

At present, central transmission utility Power Grid caters to the transmission needs of the entire country.  

Medium-to-long term open access means that Power Grid would supply transmission links to private companies, traders, bulk buyers or any other user of power from one year to five years, depending on the contract.

He said transmission has to be directional, as connecting the grid is not enough. "We need to ensure that generating stations look into grid connectivity. We are looking at changing the regulations to see how this can be effective," Shankar said.

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) is firming up the proposal, he added.

However, he did not elaborate the time, by when the regulations would be in place.

The Secretary also mentioned that following the grid failure, the government has taken numerous steps which would enable a strong transmission network across the nation.

"A number of steps have been taken subsequently (after grid collapse), like tightening of the frequency, looking at grid management," he said, adding that adherence to grid code also needs to be looked at.

Half the country's 1.2 billion population plunged into darkness on July 31, as three inter-connecting power transmission grids- northern, eastern and north-eastern collapsed.

The failure, which lasted for about six hours, affected essential services like rail and road transport, hospital and so on.

Meanwhile, the sector continues to grapple with issues such as coal and gas shortage, leading to delays in the commissioning of generating stations.

The Power Ministry is working on the revised Standard Bidding Documents (SBDs) or the bidding norms for the upcoming power projects.

"As far as the SBDs are concerned, we have finalised the aspect concerning case-I bidding of projects, where the project developer can bid on the basis of any fuel, location or technology," the Secretary said.

Emphasising on the need for the importance of fuel availability to meet the generation target, he said the domestic coal production has to be increased.

"Fuel availability is extremely important for the power sector, import of coal is not the only solution... It, in fact, increases tariffs. Therefore, we need to step up production of coal," he said.

Current coal demand of the power sector is 440 million tonnes, of which Coal India is supplying 347 million in the present financial year (2012-13).

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