New Delhi: India will switch off its lights on 9 PM for nine minutes responding to the call of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a gesture to convey to the world that no one is alone in this fight against the novel coronavirus. Switching off the lights, Indians will light up diyas. Allaying fears that this mega blackout may lead to a grid failure, the power ministry has clarified that no such crisis will happen as street lights will be on, other electric home appliances will also be on. Also Read - Coronavirus: Delirium Key Sign of COVID-19 in Frail, Older People Reveals Researchers

Power System Operation Corporation Limited — the agency responsible for managing the grid — has mapped all India lighting load and estimated that while the general power consumption for nine minutes should be of 125-126 GW, today it will drop to 12-13 gigawatts. But the drop will be for 4 to 5 minutes. Gradually, the consumption load will be restored to the normal. For those few minutes, the load needs to be balanced through hydro and gas resources. Also Read - Congress Leader Ahmed Patel Tests COVID Positive, Asks Those Who Came in Contact to Get Tested

Preparations will begin from 6 PM, which signals the peak hour of consumption. From 6.10 PM to 8 PM, hydro generation will be reduced and conserved for providing flexibility during the 9 PM event. During this time, thermal and gas generation will be scheduled in a manner so as to manage the peak. Subsequently after the peak hours, at thermal Inter-State Generating Stations (ISGS), generation would be gradually reduced to the near technical minimum level of 60 per cent by 8:55 PM and simultaneously, hydro generation will be increased to maintain the load generation balance. From 8.57 PM, hydro generation and gas generation will be ramped down keeping a watch on the system frequency. The hydro units will be kept rolling at 0-10 per cent of the rating and not to be disconnected during this period. Gas station will be ramped down to the minimum level. Also Read - 'Healthcare Services Made Available to Women, Children & Adolescents on Priority During COVID Times': Harsh Vardhan

Distribution companies have been advised to avoid any feeder switching operation from 8 PM to 10 PM. Also, control room staff at national and all regional/ state load centres will be strengthened and grids will be closely monitored to tackle any contingency. State load distribution centres have asked distribution companies to ensure that substations and housing society/ residential apartments’ main supply are not be switched off at feeder/mains level.

From 9.5 PM onwards, ramping up of thermal machines will be carried out. From 9.9 PM, when the blackout comes to an end, hydro generation will be ramped up to meet the increase in load. After stabilisation of system parameters, hydro units may be withdrawn.

To avoid voltage fluctuation, all India grid frequency may be kept at a lower side of the IEGC band i.e 49.90 Hz from 8.30 PM onwards in view of anticipated frequency rise due to demand reduction at 9 PM.