The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Availability-based power tariff trips

Calcutta, Jan. 1: The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has directed the Eastern Regional Electricity Board (EREB) to postpone the implementation of availability based tariff (ABT).

According to the original plan ABT was to be implemented from January 1 this year. Now it has been deferred to April 1.

The CERC’s decision to delay implementation of the ABT follows a petition filed by Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC). The EREB felt that unless the DVC control room at Maithon—which was completely gutted by fire on November 11 last year—is in a position to measure the flow of energy, it would not be possible to calculate the charges payable under the ABT regime.

The CERC further said that next month it would review the level of preparedness for the implementation of the ABT from April.

The introduction of the ABT will ensure that the demand-supply mismatch, which is the root cause of grid collapses, is brought down to the minimum. Implementation of the ABT will save the eastern region from the sudden power cuts that result from a grid collapse.

Under the ABT regime, a power plant will be required to give an hourly schedule of generation while buyers will furnish a matching consumption schedule. In the event of mismatch between the two, the defaulting entity will be penalised in terms of money.

“The equipment used in the power plants are taking a beating due to the large frequency fluctuation in the system. Already, more power has started flowing to other regions and implementation of the ABT would provide the much needed grid stability in the eastern region,” West Bengal State Electricity Board chairman G. D. Gautama said.

The region comprises West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand and Sikkim.

He added that the immediate need for implementing the ABT was felt as the existing provisions of the grid code were not deterrent enough and do not provide for the imposition of financial penalties on power utilities violating grid discipline.

The ABT, which had been hanging fire for more than a year and half on account on account of various court cases, has been implemented in the western region from July 2002, the northern region from December 1 and the southern region from today.

A grid collapse occurs when equipment in power plants fail due to frequency fluctuations. Equipment designed at 50 Hz normally provide a variation of 1 Hz both on the upper and the lower sides.

The eastern region is plagued by grid collapse due to high frequency when the power generation is high but demand is low. Low frequency too accounts for grid collapse when demand is high but power generation is low.

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