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Power Grid Corporation of India Limited - A Brief Profile By A Special Correspondent

POWERGRID is the Central Transmission Utility (CTU) of the country since 1998 and is a Navratna Public Sector Enterprise, has core business of power transmission with the mandate for planning, co-ordination, supervision and control over complete inter-State transmission system and operation of National & Regional Power Grids. Company is playing a key role in Indian Power Sector, directly contributing to economic development of the country, through establishing large and complex transmission projects despite working in tough terrains, hostile weather conditions etc. and operating & monitoring regional grids under stringent conditions. Company presently owns & operates around 72,500 ckt. kms. of transmission lines along with 124 Sub-stations and transforma¬tion capacity of about 82,100 MVA. Company has developed strong expertise in various facets of power transmission business including development, implementation, operation & maintenance etc.. Company has been able to display its capability in consistently maintaining the availability of this gigantic transmission network over 99%, comparable with the best international standards. In a short span of only 17 years of commercial operations, POWERGRID has displayed an excellent growth on physical and financial front from FY 1992-93, the start of commercial operation by the Company, to 2008-09:

Sl.No. Particular FY 1992-93 FY 2008-09 % increase
1. Line Length (Ckt. Kms.) 22,228
71,500 221%
2. Transformation Capacity (MVA) 12,201
79,500 552%
3. Turnover (Rs. in Crore) 634 7,029 1009%
4. Net Profit (Rs. in Crore) 236
1,691 615%
5. Gross asset (Rs. in Crore) 3,521 40,319 1045%

POWERGRID puts its best efforts to implement transmission projects within stipulated time frame to derive maximum economic benefits. POWERGRID has been able to achieve this through its advanced and cost effective Integrated Project Management and Control System (IPMCS) for total project review and monitoring on regular basis. Besides, Company has also  taken initiatives to reduce time period of project implementation such as advance actions to develop specifications, standardization of designs (civil foundations, tower structures, sub-station equipments & structures, buildings, electrical & mechanical equipments etc) and collection of project data, apart from advance actions for survey using modern satellite techniques and in-house design & testing of towers, survey and soil investigation, undertaking tendering activities, funds tie-up etc. in parallel with project approval process. These advance actions are contributing to not only in substantial reduction of project implementation period (up to one year) but also optimizing cost of projects.

Country’s natural generating resources are unevenly distributed such as, coal resources are abundant in Bihar/Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal, hydro resources are mainly concentrated in Northern and North-Eastern Region, etc. But the demand for power continues to grow all over the country. Further, acquiring Right of Way (RoW) for constructing transmission system is getting increasingly difficult. This necessitated creation of high capacity “Transmission Highways”, so that in future, constraints in RoW do not become bottleneck in harnessing natural resources. 

For meeting power demand in various parts of the country and for optimum utilisation of generation resources, development of a strong National Grid is a prerequisite, implementation of which has been taken up in a phased manner matching with generation capacity addition programme. Toward this, a perspective transmission plan has been evolved for strengthening the regional grids and enhances the inter-regional power transfer capacity of National Grid. Working towards this, National Grid with inter-regional power transfer capacity of about 20,800 MW has already been established and four out of five regional grids are operating in synchronous mode (at same frequency), which has emerged as one of the largest synchronous grid in the world with present installed generation  capacity of over 1,10,000 MW. This grid is connected to Southern Region grid though various HVDC links and substantial power is exchanged across the regional grids.

Reliable and stabile operation of power grids has always been a mater of high priority for POWERGRID. The load despatch & communication facility in each region inherited by POWERGRID at the time commencement of business operations did not have the state-of-the-art facilities, impacting effective management of the grid which many a time manifested in to grid collapses. For addressing this problem, POWERGRID has taken a landmark initiative for modernization of all the five Regional Load Despatch Centers through Unified Load Despatch and Communication Scheme (ULDC) schemes for secure, reliable, stable and real time management of the grid. Further, POWERGRID, in its efforts to ensure delivery of quality power and to maintain grid discipline, facilitated implementation of “Availability Based Tariff (ABT)” in all the five regions, a commercial mechanism with built-in features of incentives and penalty during low and high frequency grid operating conditions. This has greatly helped in improving the vital grid parameters like voltage & frequency.

Efforts made by POWERGRID in modernizing the Regional Load Despatch Centers (RLDCs), implementation of Availability Based Tariff (ABT), power transfer through inter-regional links and effective Operation & Maintenance measures using State-of-the-Art technologies have led to overall improvement in power supply position in various parts of the country. POWERGRID could successfully manage to arrest occurrence of any major grid disturbance in the country during last more than six and half years. Minor grid disturbances in regional grids have also come down significantly.

With the modernisation of RLDCs and implementation of various inter-regional links by POWERGRID, inter-regional power exchange has grown manifold which has helped in meeting more demand in energy deficit regions besides achieving overall economy. During FY 2008-09, about 46,000 MUs of inter-regional energy transfer were facilitated across the country. Under open access, more than 11,780 transactions were approved during the year involving 30,500 MUs of energy.

POWERGRID has always given priority to R&D activities, which are mainly for optimization of cost of power transmission and also for conservation of Right-of-Way (RoW). Towards this, various new technologies have been adopted suiting Indian power system such as Up-gradation of transmission lines on case to case basis, use of Thyristor Controlled Series Compensation, high temperature endurance conductors, development of pole type tower structure for 400KV transmission lines, GPS/GIS based survey techniques, etc.. Having established and operating extensive 400 kV transmission network, company has taken initiative for development of major transmission highways using higher transmission voltage levels, i.e. 765 kV EHV AC and ±500 kV HVDC as a viable alternatives to achieve efficient utilisation of RoW and increased power transfer capability for transfer of bulk power over long distances. The first ±500 kV HVDC bi-pole is in operation since 1991-92. The next higher AC transmission voltage, 765 kV was introduced in the country by commissioning and operating country's 1st 765 kV transmission line, namely Sipat-Seoni line in 2007-08.

POWERGRID is,  now, working on next higher transmission voltages of 1200 kV UHVAC System and ±800 kV HVDC in the country to achieve efficient utilization of existing RoW and increased power transfer capability for transfer of bulk power over long distances etc.. In this direction, 1200 kV UHVAC Test Station along with a 1200kV test line is being established at Bina in Madhya Pradesh by POWERGRID, as a collaborative effort with equipment manufacturers. Field test for 1200 kV UHVAC is under progress which shall lead to, optimisation of design of transmission line and substation equipment, Optimization of RoW & cost and ease in O&M etc.. The Company has commenced implementation of ±800kV, 6000 Megawatt HVDC Bi-pole line from North Eastern Region to Northern Region (Agra).

In order to utilize spare telecommunication capacity available with its Unified Load Despatch and Communication schemes and leveraging its country wide transmission infrastructure to shore up its revenue base, POWERGRID spotted the opportunity of convergence between transmission & telecom businesses, and ventured into telecom business. As a part of this, POWERGRID has already established a backbone Telecom Network of more than 20,400 Km connecting major cities & metros including remote areas like Jammu & Kashmir and North-Eastern Region and providing value added services to various customers.

POWERGRID with its strong in-house expertise in various facets of Transmission, Sub-transmission, Distribution and Telecom sectors is already offering consultancy services at national & international level. In the international arena, POWERGRID has emerged as a strong player in transmission sector in South Asia. Our most prestigious assignment, i.e. execution of transmission project in Afghanistan, costing about Rs. 420 Crore to lay a 200 Km long 220 kV transmission line, passing over Hindu Kush region at a height of 4000 mtrs above sea level, which is covered with snow for 9 months in a year, has been completed in January 2009, within the schedule. POWERGRID has also secured consultancy assignments in Nepal, Bhutan, Nigeria, Dubai and Myanmar against stiff competition from international consultants. Besides, for a proposed under-sea interconnection with Sri Lanka, a pre-feasibility report has been prepared and submitted.

Keeping in view our expertise in transmission, distribution and telecom sectors and the prospects available in international business arena, POWERGRID, has established a dedicated International Business Division to strategically exploit promising potential & opportunities abroad. POWERGRID has been keenly participating in tenders floated by ADB, The World Bank, and other foreign organizations and submitting Expression of Interest and Prequalification documents to clients in various countries like Vietnam, China, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan & Bangladesh international competitive biddings. 

POWERGRID has taken lead role and is making valuable contribution in Govt. of India’s nation building schemes of Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (APDRP) and Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) which are aimed at bringing qualitative improvement in the distribution sector. Under APDRP, POWERGRID is acting as Advisor-cum-Consultant (AcC) in 177 distribution circles/ towns/ schemes spread over 18 States at an estimated cost of about Rs. 6,600 Crore. Most of these schemes have been commissioned. POWERGRID is also implementing some of APDRP schemes on deposit work basis in the States of Bihar, Goa, Meghalaya, Uttar Pradesh, Tripura and Gujarat at a cost of about Rs. 1,100 Crore, most of which are nearing completion. Under RGGVY, POWERGRID has been assigned the job for execution of rural electrification works in 68 districts in the country covering around 74,000 villages at an estimated cost of about Rs. 6,400 Crore. During the FY 2008-09, POWERGRID created infrastructure in 4145 un-electrified villages and service connection to about 7 lakh BPL households are also provided. Cumulatively, till Mar’09, POWERGRID had established infrastructure for electrification of 30,000 villages and released service connection to about 10 Lakh BPL households.

To meet future demand, Ministry of Power, Government of India has envisaged capacity addition of about 78,700 MW during XI Plan (2007-12). Accordingly, investment programme of about Rs. 55,000 Crore is envisaged to be made by POWERGRID POWERGRID for XI Plan has been estimated based on envisaged generation capacity addition in Central sector and other generation projects including four Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPPs) for which transmission system is required to be built by POWERGRID.

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   RNI No. WBENG/2008/27737
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