A committee headed by the Maharashtra energy secretary Ajoy Mehta has observed that massive power outage took place on September 2 in Mumbai which he said was due to technical snag at the Tata Power’s unit 5 (500 MW) at the Trombay plant. However, the committee, which is to submit its report to the state government by Monday, has clearly noted that had the utilities completed the transmission network strengthening in Greater Mumbai in a time bound manner, it would have helped power evacuation from other parts of the state and country.
Further, the committee, which has sourced the necessary backup data from the state load dispatch centre (SLDC), has made a strong case for generation capacity addition to meet the increasing power requirement in the city and also exploring options such as roof top solar projects and power generation based on solid waste management.
Sources in the know told Business Standard ”Based on the SLDC data, the committee has noted that the technical fault led to tripping of Tata Power’s unit five at the Trombay plant. However, transmission constraints impacted evacuation of power from the grid which would have provided relief to the consumers. There will not be witch hunting but it is committee’s attempt to see that Mumbai’s pre eminence as the commercial and financial capital is maintained with an uninterrupted and reliable power supply.”
The committee was formed by the state cabinet at its meeting held on September 3. The state cabinet had expressed serious concern over power outage asking the committee to look into the causes and recommend short and long term measures. Mumbai’s peak load has already moved to 3350 MW against the connected generation of only 2500 MW. Tata Power, Reliance Infrastructure, BrihanMumbai Electric Supply & Transport (BEST) and state-run Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MahaVitaran) are supplying power to Mumbaikars.
Moreover, the committee has suggested that distribution utilities can explore an option of reaching an arrangement with MahaVitaran for the power supply from state grid. ”However, for that to happen, upgradation and strengthening of transmission network is key,” sources said.
Ashok Pendse, consumer representative at the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) shared the committee’s observations. ”Unless and until we are in a position to strengthen the transmission network whereby the additional power can be brought in Mumbai, the sword will keep on hanging on Mumbai’s head. At present, almost 1,000 to 1,200 MW is the deficit. Even if Tata Power’s unit 6 is converted into coal its capacity will be 250 MW,” Pendse noted. He however, suggested that the government will have to expeditiously address the issues relating to right of the way and various clearance which will have way for the utilities to strengthen transmission network.