All you want to know about Mumbai blackout

Written By Unknown on Rabu, 03 September 2014 | 22.23

What you need to know about the tripping of Unit No 5 in Tata Power's Trombay plant on Tuesday, which affected Sion, Dadar, Mahim, Parel, Prabhadevi and BKC.

What does "power unit trip" mean?

According to Vivek Agarwal, professor of electrical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Powai, unit tripping is a basic safety feature built into a power system that involves automatic disconnection of the power generator unit to avoid dangerous conditions like thermal overload, short circuit and faults in the grid, among other reasons.

What causes a power unit to trip?

There are a number of circumstances that can lead to unit tripping — a fault in the generator, overvoltage, overloading (when more power is drawn than the rating), reverse power flow, failures of auxiliary units like boilers and cooling systems.

Tata Power's official line is this: "the tripping resulted in load shedding in Parel, Mahalaxmi, Dharavi and Chembur areas of Mumbai to control loading on 220 KV Kharghar-Nerul-Sonkar-Trombay tie-line. What does this mean?

Neighbouring power grids in the city are linked to each other by transmission lines (these are referred to as tie-lines) so that they may "share" electricity. Control loading or load frequency control regulates the flow of electricity between these linked grids while maintaining the frequency of power transmitted to the end user (in India, this is 50 Hz, a legacy of British rule). If a power unit trips, the electricity supplier begins to "disconnect" end users in order to ease the load on that particular grid - this also maintains the equilibrium between the various neighbourhoods linked by tie-lines. India's coal crisis explained

How often has this unit tripped?

Nine times since January 2013.

What's next?

According to Ashok Sethi, Vice President, Tata Power, although "a power grid could trip at any moment given various factors", the unit in question "has been fully restored". He maintained that he doesn't foresee the problem recurring, all things being equal.

How much power does Mumbai consume every day?

On average, the city draws nearly 2,082 MW per day.

How much of the city's electricity needs are met by Tata Power?

The company supplies 932 MW to BEST, which caters to south Mumbai, from Colaba to Mahim and Sion.

And how much does Reliance Infrastructure supply?

Reliance, which has plants at Dahanu and Butibori in Nagpur provides 1,000 MW, and covers north Mumbai, from Bandra to Dahisar and Kurla to Vikhroli.

What about the eastern suburbs?

Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd., covers the section between Kanjur Marg and Mulund.

I have a Reliance connection, why did I lose electricity if there was a problem with Tata Power?

While the two companies compete with each other in Mumbai, the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission has mandated that in order to best serve the needs of the city, the two must share infrastructure - in particular, distribution networks. This means that a breakdown in one supply system affects operations of the other.

Coal war

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has attributed the power crisis in the state in general and the city in particular to the shortfall in coal supplied to the country's thermal power plants. "I have been warning the central government about this impending crisis," he said. "During a recent meeting with Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal, at which the state Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar [who also holds the energy portfolio] was present, I expressed my concerns about the coal situation."

A little over a month ago, Goyal declared that the country had "only 4 days worth of coal reserves in hand". According to a March 2014 report by Punebased analysts Prayas Energy Group, the continuing uncertainty and unreliability in domestic coal production and in the pricing of imported coal is likely to impact consumers through a move towards very high power tariffs.

"There is an acute shortage of around 12-15% in power generation in India," said HS Ramakrishna, a former senior official at the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd. and senior advisor to the Bangalore-based energy think tank Centre for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP). plant,Tata Power,power unit trip,Mumbai power crisis,Mumbai blackout

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