The Union Power Ministry has decided to integrate the southern grid with the national grid in January 2014, Minister for Power and Corporate Affairs M. Veerappa Moily said.
He said it was scheduled earlier for December 2014, and the Ministry had now decided to advance it.
There are indeed significant advantages of integrating the southern grid with the national grid. The grid is more robust and less vulnerable to spikes in power supply or excess demand. I was in fact told by a senior executive in TNEB while I was doing a small assignment for them that the grid frequency in the southern grid increases by 1 Hz if there is an increase of 1000 MW, while for the National Grid, the supply capacity has to increase by an order of magnitude higher (if I remember correctly, he mentioned 10,000 MW), for it to increase by 1 Hz. Naturally, integrating the grids also means that while higher supplies can be routed to the national grid while still fetching reasonable tariffs, higher demands in the state can be met too.
However, one concern that arises owing to the recent failure of the northern and north eastern grids is whether such an integration could cause blackouts to the southern grid too in the future if states such as UP, whose overdrawals allegedly was one of the reasons for the grid collapse, continue doing so in the future.
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