Hyderabad: The top brass of power utilities in the country have made it clear that there was no threat to the electricity grids due to sudden fluctuations in the demand for about nine minutes at 9 pm on Sunday, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called upon people to switch off electricity lights and light lamps, candles, battery torches or mobile flashes to express their solidarity amid Covid-19’s distress.
Certain messages claiming to have been sent by the electricity engineer associations have been making rounds in the social media since the PM’s video message on Friday morning. The creators of the message (as they haven’t mentioned any names or source or origin) have been widely circulated on WhatsApp and Facebook, saying any complete turning off of power supply even for a minute would lead to grid tripping. The first official response to this message came from Maharashtra Energy Minister Nitin Raut who warned the public against completely switching off all lights, refrigerators and other home appliances so as to avoid the grid tripping, due to voltage fluctuation. “Now the energy demand in Maharashtra has fallen from 23,000 MW to 13,000 MW and further slump might lead to grid tripping,” he said.
In Hyderabad too, several persons claiming to electricity engineers and experts put out messages saying that turning off all lights and electricity consuming appliances might lead to the grid tripping and it might take 12 to 16 hours to restore the supply later. These comments and messages have created panic among the public who are readying to join the lights solidarity call of the Prime Minister.
However, Telangana Genco and Transco (power generation and transmission corporations) chairman Devulapalli Prabhakar Rao has clarified that there was no such threat to the grid tripping on Sunday night. “People can happily participate in the lighting of lamps and turn off electricity for a few minutes, no harm is done,” he issued a clarification to the public on Saturday.
A section of electricity engineers in Andhra Pradesh too expressed similar views and felt that the motives of those who created doubts over the PM’s lights solidarity call were “purely political”. “These people wanted to create panic among the public by spreading false information that power grids would collapse on Sunday night, this is inexcusable,”  said an office bearer of AP junior electricity engineers association.
Though there is truth that any steep fluctuation in frequency in bulk supply would lead to grid collapse, this planned lowering of demand to some extent would not cause any harm, explained he, who earlier worked with the Power Grid Corporation of India and NTPC.
“Moreover, on the night Sunday, this show is only for nine minutes and there won’t be any steep frequency fluctuations in transmission,” he said.
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has called upon people to participate in the lighting of lamps event at 9 pm on Sunday. The Chief Minister is expected to join the event at his official residence Pragathi Bhavan in Hyderabad. Governor Tamilisai, too, along with her family and staff, would join the programme at Raj Bhavan.
Many Tollywood stars and sports personalities like P.V. Sindhu have tweeted that they would be joining the lighting of lamps event in response to the PM’s call. “Some people are foolishly questioning everything done by the government. But, we should know that this is an occasion where should display our unity and solidarity with all those who are affected Covid,” said mega star Chiranjeevi.

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