Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Power Hardware News

Half of India Without Electricity As Power Grid Crisis Deepens 413

Posted by Soulskill
from the india's-population-is-1.2-billion dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "BBC reports that a massive power breakdown has hit India for a second day running, leaving more than half the country without power as the northern and eastern grids have both collapsed. The breakdown has hit a large swathe of the country including Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan states in the north, and West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Jharkhand in the east. Power cuts are a common occurrence in Indian cities because of a fundamental shortage of power and an aging grid. The chaos caused by such cuts has led to protests and unrest on the streets but the collapse of an entire grid is rare — the last time the northern grid failed was in 2001. India's demand for electricity has soared in recent years as its economy has grown but its power infrastructure has been unable to meet the growing needs. In the weeks leading up to the failure, extreme heat had caused power use to reach record levels in New Delhi and on July 30 a line feeding into the Agra-Bareilly transmission section, the 400-kV Bina-Gwalior line, tripped, triggering the collapse. The second grid collapse occurred on 31 July as the Northern, Eastern and North-Eastern power grids of India tripped/failed causing power blackout in 19 states across India. The crisis was allegedly triggered after four states — Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and UP — drew much more than their assigned share of power."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Half of India Without Electricity As Power Grid Crisis Deepens

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Don't manage your power grid using Windows Server 2008.

    • I think that if you look into it, you'll find that like most things nowadays, the grid was run by MBA executives armed with Microsoft PowerPoint and multi-million dollar bonuses---for the last 10 years at least.

      Said executives probably had about as much understanding of electricity and grid operations as they did about finance and corporate management; that is to say, next to nothing apart from how to fake it. In addition, I suspect we're probably looking at another Enron/Cali power grid fiasco here too.

      • by Fjandr (66656)

        In most places, those people don't actually run the grid. They run the companies that invest in those who run the grid.

        Enron itself didn't actually own or operate non-plant electrical infrastructure in the USA, with the exception of about 3/4 million users in Oregon under PGE (which amounted to 1/3 of their worldwide retail electrical operations by customer count).

        The real problem is that there simply isn't enough money anywhere to take care of the largest power grids (USA, India, and Russia), which are agi

  • by Revotron (1115029) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @07:51AM (#40827327)
    "Dell Technical Support could not be reached for comments."
    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @08:20AM (#40827659) Journal

      It will actually be interesting to hear if any call centers that claimed Serious Redundancy And Stuff were a tad... optimistic... and will find customers going elsewhere in the near future.

      It's not like backup power is total rocket surgery; but things that cost money all the time and only prove useful occasionally have a nasty habit of being neglected...

      • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot AT worf DOT net> on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @10:16AM (#40829151)

        It will actually be interesting to hear if any call centers that claimed Serious Redundancy And Stuff were a tad... optimistic... and will find customers going elsewhere in the near future.

        It's not like backup power is total rocket surgery; but things that cost money all the time and only prove useful occasionally have a nasty habit of being neglected...

        India's always had power issues. If you look at some Indian electronics magazines, what's the #1 most advertised product in them? Yes, power equipment - power conditioners, UPSes, battery banks, generators, etc.

        The only guaranteed thing about India's electricity was that it was unreliable.

        I think all the equipment is tested quite regularly purely because of it. They're not "occasionally useful", they're essential equipment unless one likes to live intermittently.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Meanwhile, Global Call Center Operations routed calls to Round Rock, Roseburg, Waco, Twin Falls, and Nashville. Customer satisfaction increased, even with longer wait times.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @09:09AM (#40828299)

      Dell support is in Bangalore which was not affected.

      And I have been in the building where they receives calls, the place has a generator the size of a large hotel lobby, so as long as the gas lasts, they can. They also have redundant phone lines, so even if one network operator goes down, they are in business

    • by vistic (556838)

      Such original humor, how do you come up with such gems?

  • by RogueyWon (735973) * on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @07:51AM (#40827331) Journal
    Saw an interesting and partially-related piece yesterday about scheduled and unscheduled power-outages in neighbouring Pakistan [telegraph.co.uk] and the social unrest that can result from them.

    We all know the old adage about a civilised society being just three missed meals away from barbarism. In the modern world, I wonder whether something similar could be said for the power supply. And might broadband ever fall into the same camp?
    • by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @09:39AM (#40828643)

      We all know the old adage about a civilised society being just three missed meals away from barbarism. In the modern world, I wonder whether something similar could be said for the power supply. And might broadband ever fall into the same camp?

      Been there, did that. So, for that matter, did Virginia, more recently.

      Hurricane blew by. Power went out. Stayed out 4 days. These were the things we missed:

      1. Refrigeration - we had a full load of groceries, so we crammed everything we could into an ice chest and grilled the rest.
      2. HOT WATER!!!!
      3. Cooking electricity
      4. Air Conditioning
      5. Lights
      6. Power for the electronics

      Afterwards, we looked into alternatives. R/Vs operate with gas-powered fridges, which are actually simpler and quieter than their electric brethren. But, being a specialty item, the prices are ridiculous.

      2. Hot water was actually not that big a problem. Put a large jug in the garage and it'll be 110F in a day. Locally, solar experts actually recommend roof-mounted solar water heaters as the #1 way to save on energy costs, since hot water is one of the biggest consumers of energy.

      3. charcoal BBQ grill. Although I bought a propane camp stove afterwards.

      4. Fortunately, the first day or two after a storm is relatively cool. After that, the humidity and temperature soared to about the same levels as much of India is recording. Not pleasant, but, like much of India, we didn't have A/C when I grew up anyway. A solar-powered fan gave a little temporary relief.

      5. I brought in the solar landscape lights. Afterwards I developed a keen interest in high-brightness LEDs, which were beginning to approach 1 candlepower. Newer units are even brighter, so that problem is no longer a problem.

      6. OK, at this point the serious suffering began.

    • by Nemyst (1383049)

      Read up on the Quebec 1998 freezing rain crisis. Most people were cut off for a week, some as long as a month and a half (tens of thousands, not a couple hundreds). It was quite the chaos because right after the rain stopped it got really cold and the vast majority of people here depend on electricity for heating, but I'd say what happened was the opposite of barbarism. There was a huge movement towards helping each other, large community centers were created to provide shelter for those without power who h

  • Great (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anne_Nonymous (313852) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @07:54AM (#40827369) Homepage Journal

    Just great. Now how am I supposed to get my cell phone bill corrected?

  • by scharkalvin (72228) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @07:56AM (#40827397) Homepage

    Guess this means that HP and Compaq's phone in help desks are down.

    • Re:Help desks down? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @08:07AM (#40827505)

      our corporate email owa web interface is down.
      global fortune 5 company.

      as for the outage, one big issue in this country is that power plants require outside power to run. They require the grid to be up and power in order to start unless the plant is a black-start unit, and they are a very very small percentage of the units. If the us infrastructure has this risk I can only image how bad it is in India.

      • Re:Help desks down? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by dbIII (701233) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @09:14AM (#40828347)
        I used to be in the power industry (not in India), and a couple of the power stations I worked at had jet engines hooked to generating sets to give enough power to start. They tested them once a month, and they worked nearly every single time for years, until one day when a major cable went down while another plant had all it's units shut down and the third, very old and tiny power station, had been shut down for the day. Apparently the small plant (40MW units? Tiny anyway) had a boiler that was still hot enough that huge piles of oil soaked rags and other bits and pieces raised enough steam to get the equipment that supplied the coal moving and a real fire going. Within a few hours that unit was generating enough to get larger units in the shutdown power station going.
    • I'm glad (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @08:16AM (#40827609)

      Guess this means that HP and Compaq's phone in help desks are down.

      And every other company that has off-shored offices over there. And I hope all the software developers over there are also in the dark and all the US based companies that sent their stuff over there are squirming and bleeding money over this.

      And I hope this makes all their projects late so that when the customer says, "Hey IBM (or whoever), why is our project late?! You now owe us $Big Bucks in performance penalties!"

      IBM: "It's not our fault! It's India's!"

      "Our super top secret project that will make us the top dog in our industry is being developed in India?! With no way to check if our trade secrets are going out the door!?"

      *Terrified Silence*

      I can dream, can't I?

  • by Rooked_One (591287) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @07:57AM (#40827403) Journal
    your chances of getting an english speaking representative who's name isn't either Jay or Mike.

    I know that the people making the big bucks will just take the hit in customer satisfaction over this blackout, but maybe it will make them realize you can't offshore everything.
  • by madhatter256 (443326) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @08:02AM (#40827447)

    It goes to show how "developed" India is, when it actually has a sewage crisis, water crisis and now this.

    Kolkata's sewage system is literally collapsing in on itself.

    The modern India we see on TV is held up by the rickety old infrastructure dating back to colonial times.

    India needs to stop funneling their money from into their pockets and back into the streets.

    They can be light years ahead of neighboring countries if they concentrate their efforts into massive public works projects.

    • by crazyjj (2598719) *

      India needs to stop funneling their money from into their pockets and back into the streets.

      Sadly, rampant corruption in both the public and private sphere is something all too few companies factor in when they decide to do business there. We take certain things for granted in the West that you can't in India, and many western companies that try to outsource there find out the hard way that you had better factor in the additional costs of bribes (LOTS of bribes), crime, infrastructure problems (which will also include bribes), etc. I had a personal experience involving a company that had to give t

      • by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @08:24AM (#40827721) Journal

        I had a personal experience involving a company that had to give their workers special "bonuses" during every crunch time or they would just basically lay down on the job.

        Sounds fair to me. Why should they work extra hard to reach your deadline if they're not going to get any extra benefit from meeting the deadline? Not everyone sells their soul to their employer like we have to in America, nor should they. If you don't like it, plan better so that there is no crunch time.

      • by cerberusss (660701) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @08:49AM (#40828043) Homepage Journal

        I had a personal experience involving a company that had to give their workers special "bonuses" during every crunch time

        You mean getting paid for overtime? Oh my god, what kind of savages were you dealing with??!?

      • Corruption in India (Score:5, Informative)

        by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @08:59AM (#40828193) Journal
        The corruption in India (and Pakistan, China and Bangladesh etc) is different from the corruption in the western countries. In the west, corrupt officials do illegal things for bribes of money or power or women. In the East corrupt officials demand money to do their regular job for which they get paid salaries. Simple things like getting a driver's license or getting fitness certificate for your bus/truck, or getting a residency certificate to apply for a bank loan, or getting a legal heir certificate to probate a will, or to register a property deed, or police verification report to apply for passport or no objection certificate from the Urban Development Authority for something or the other, or from the water board for something else .... any thing you need to do, there are two things that are certain:

        1. You will need certificates. No matter what you do. Anything you do must have an application, usually in triplicate, and it should be accompanied by certificates. Tons and tons of certificates.

        2. All these certificates must be obtained by bribing some official or another.

        • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @10:27AM (#40829283)

          In the East corrupt officials demand money to do their regular job for which they get paid salaries. Simple things like getting a driver's license or getting fitness certificate for your bus/truck, or getting a residency certificate to apply for a bank loan, or getting a legal heir certificate to probate a will, or to register a property deed, or police verification report to apply for passport or no objection certificate from the Urban Development Authority for something or the other, or from the water board for something else .... any thing you need to do, there are two things that are certain:

          1. You will need certificates. No matter what you do. Anything you do must have an application, usually in triplicate, and it should be accompanied by certificates. Tons and tons of certificates.

          2. All these certificates must be obtained by bribing some official or another.

          What you are describing here is NOT "corruption". It is "graft". Subtle difference, possibly, but significant, from a cultural perspective - some cultures have no problems with graft (it's assumed to be one of the perks of the job)....

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I prefer to see it as half of India WITH electricity.

  • Aging grid (Score:5, Funny)

    by Sarten-X (1102295) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @08:10AM (#40827551) Homepage

    No, really... the network is fine, and constantly being brought up to the state of the art. The real problem is the rapid increase in demand, caused by households with multiple light bulbs. The utility company plans to remedy the problem by putting special meters on the highest-usage households, that will shut off their electrical supply if they use more than 15 kilowatt-hours per month.

    For an additional fee, the customers may switch to the "unlimited" plan, which will cut them off after 30 kWh.

  • Maybe this will be a test case to seee if the new television drama "Revolution" foretells humanity's reaction to a loss of electrical power, or debunks the portrayal.

    Here's hoping its the latter...

  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @08:22AM (#40827693)

    Have you tried unplugging it and plugging it back in?

    Imagine the lines of people trying to microwave tupperware bowls full rice and beans.

  • Looks like nuclear power is a bit like credit cards...

  • by assertation (1255714) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @08:26AM (#40827761)

    Living in the Washington D.C. Metro area, having PEPCO as our power company and reliably having several blackouts a year, last one for about a week, I can relate.

    Living near the capitol of what USED TO BE the most advanced country on the planet is sort of like living in a 3rd world country sometimes.

    Thank you PEPCO and other 1%ers who are willing to let the US infrastructure rot so you buy yourself islands

  • by khoonirobo (1316521) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @08:33AM (#40827823)

    Background:

    I'm an Indian, presently in Gurgaon (within National Capital Region) and yes, there has been a blackout since past few hours.

    As to homes and office, situation is not so bad because blackouts are such an everyday occurrence that diesel generators in apartment complexes and offices are *very* common. The immediate real effects are to infrastructure i.e. Railways and Delhi Metro (mass transport).

    Now to address the system, a good reading : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_sector_in_India [wikipedia.org]

    relevant parts from first paragraph:

    The per capita average annual domestic electricity consumption in India in 2009 was 96 kWh in rural areas and 288 kWh in urban areas for those with access to electricity, in contrast to the worldwide per capita annual average of 2600 kWh and 6200 kWh in the European Union. India's total domestic, agricultural and industrial per capita energy consumption estimate vary depending on the source. Two sources place it between 400 to 700 kWh in 2008–2009. As of January 2012, one report found the per capita total consumption in India to be 778 kWh.

    India currently suffers from a major shortage of electricity generation capacity, even though it is the world's fourth largest energy consumer after United States, China and Russia. The International Energy Agency estimates India needs an investment of at least $135 billion to provide universal access of electricity to its population.

    India's electricity sector is amongst the world's most active players in renewable energy utilization, especially wind energy. As of December 2011, India had an installed capacity of about 22.4 GW of renewal technologies-based electricity, exceeding the total installed electricity capacity in Austria by all technologies.

    We do have a major problem on our hands.
    1. Demand *far* outstrips supply.
    2. Distribution losses are high. Illegal tapping, faulty meters, old equipment and corruption being leading causes.
    3. Free/cheap electricity provided to agriculture sector and collection of dues waived due to vote-bank politics.

    But we are working on it:
    1. Looking into renewable energy like wind and hydro in a major way. (see quote above and wiki)
    2. Major investment into Nuclear energy.

    Environmental groups are slowing down development of the above though.

    • by Ichijo (607641)

      1. Demand *far* outstrips supply.

      That's very easy [wikipedia.org] to fix, even without adding supply.

  • by pmathew (1597155) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @08:37AM (#40827875)
    The media is giving a lot of hype to this .. and half the nation is a big number and and grid is a big thing so i guess its important .. but India always had power shortage ..Bangalore used to have 6 hours load shedding in summers every day in city and 12 hours in rural .. but life just moves on .. it never really mattered .. almost every apartment has backup power generators and same with corporate offices as power is not so reliable .. and for others who dont have backup its not critical and no power means slight inconvenience .. nothing comes to standstill .. not even traffic light breakdown .. really those never worked and no one followed them anyways .. India is like that .. i am not proud of this and i am an indian .. i am just telling its no big deal .. and regarding the uprising this .. unless its on the final over of world cup india is wining .. no chance .. we are peaceful creatures ..
  • by Anonymous Coward

    unplugging it and plugging it back in?

  • by Wansu (846) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @10:25AM (#40829259)

    The US will experience a massive outage like this one. India is handling this a lot better than we will.

  • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @10:28AM (#40829305) Homepage

    When I first got to China in 2004, summer blackouts were just part of life. From 10am until 4pm, the power at my apartment just went off. I had to go find a cafe or something and sit around until the heat of the day had passed and the power came back on. It only happened sometimes, not every day. I found out later that there was a schedule for such things, but I couldn't read Chinese back then so there was no way for me to know. I haven't been in a residential blackout for years now. Obviously, things have gotten better. A big nuclear plant went online near here a few years back and I'm sure that ended the power problem permanently. It must be nice having your society run by scientists and engineers, and treating the environuts as the Luddites that they are.

    Factories were on a schedule of blackouts, too. There was not enough power to go around, so one or two days per week there would be no electricity. This delayed production and caused all kinds of problems, particularly when the factory failed to inform the customer that this was the case. Factories could get diesel generators to pick up the slack, but generally the factory owners were too cheap to invest in this sort of thing.

  • by peter303 (12292) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @11:02AM (#40829725)
    One of the worst mass murders in recent times was in Mumbai a few years ago. Some people claim hacking the power grid should not be too difficult.
  • Welcome to the Party (Score:3, Informative)

    by LordDfg (1828962) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @06:29PM (#40850011) Homepage
    I have a Generator that can power my computer and house and a decent UPS that can run my system without any issues. To reach this point I have been through hell. In Pakistan the power crisis has only gone worse each year. I can't remember the last day when the power didn't go out. Every day it goes out for 8 hours or more. It's literally a hell hole for online business. I have trained myself to work in harsh conditions in the past which included running the computer and keeping the fan off (40+C temperatures) and before that I would usually shutdown the PC before the power went out. I literally memorized the power schedule and I would constantly keep working and then powering off and then coming back to work. That routine was amazingly harsh; you were put under a lot of stress physically and emotionally. Now, even with this backup solution you still get pwned because the gas prices are high here and if you venture outside you will just roast yourself. In short, India is just facing a major blackout just now but Pakistan has been facing this for years now.

In every hierarchy the cream rises until it sours. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter

Working...