Mumbai: Independent panel to probe power outage

Updated: 23 October, 2020 07:37 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

MERC members Mukesh Khullar and I M Bohri passed the order and notified that Sudhir Kumar Goel, former additional chief secretary of the state will head the expert committee

This picture has been used for representational purposes
This picture has been used for representational purposes

A day after it conducted a hearing regarding the unprecedented power outage in Mumbai on October 12, the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) ordered an independent high-level committee to probe the root cause of the outage and recommend steps to avoid a recurrence.

MERC members Mukesh Khullar and I M Bohri passed the order and notified that Sudhir Kumar Goel, former additional chief secretary of the state will head the expert committee. V Ramakrishna, ex-member (Power Systems), Central Electricity Authority and Dr Faruk A S Kazi, head of the department of Electrical Engineering VJTI, Mumbai, will be the members of the committee.

The committee has been asked to verify and analyse the submissions of the power utilities, find out the root cause, examine the adequacy of protections systems/islanding systems, etc., verify the adequacy of responses, adherence of MERC (State Grid Code) Regulations 2020, etc. The committee has to submit a report in three months.

'Finish internal probes soon'

MERC said that once the report is in, it will decide on further action as per the provisions of the Electricity Act, 2003. "The Commission directs the parties to submit the outcome of their internal enquiries to the commission and also to the committee constituted by the commission," it ordered. MERC directed the utilities conducting internal enquiries to determine lapses or technical explanations, to finish the work in a time-bound manner and fix responsibility in case of serious inadvertence/lapses. "The studies initiated should be concluded...with the objective to improve upon various aspects such as system protections, routine maintenance activities, design of the material/equipment being procured, training, documentation etc. The commission directs the parties to submit the outcome of their internal enquiries to the commission and also to the high-level committee," added MERC.

'Expand Uran plant's capacity'

Energy Minister Dr Nitin Raut directed generation company MahaGenco to increase the capacity of the gas-fired power plant (current capacity 672MW; actual generation 350MW) in Uran by at least 1,000 in two years to cater to Mumbai's increasing demand. He asked for a project report at the earliest during his visit to the plant. According to Raut, Mumbai's current peak-hour demand is 2,800MW and it was likely to increase to 5,000MW by 2030. "But Mumbai's companies generate only 1,300MW, thus making supply from outside necessary. However, since on October 12, the supply from outside stopped and embedded generation was short in supply, the city and MMR faced outages," he said.

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First Published: 23 October, 2020 07:07 IST

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