A major news story which has dominated headlines over the past few days has been that of the major power blackout across three regional grids in North India. Even though it has been reported this morning electricity has now been restored, around 620 million residents in total were affected by the blackout.
The actual cause of the problem has not yet been identified, but it has been widely speculated that the blackout was due to state electric boards overdrawing power to sate the profound demand. Typically, power outages are commonplace in India due to this need for more power and the infrastructure is consequently exhausted.
The severity of the power cuts on this occasion have sparked much debated across the communities involved in the smart grid industry, with many people speaking out about how smart grid implementation could prove very beneficial to India.
Many believe (and it is easy to see why) that the country is desperate for a complete overhaul and upgrade of its current infrastructure. This would involve a combination of things – more transmission lines, better grid control, and better generation capacity. Pricing and billing systems would also need to be amended to ensure that everybody is paying their fair share and reduce electricity theft and wasteful use.
A smarter power grid could be the solution to these woes. The smart grid concept uses smart metering which is designed to manage consumption used at peak times, often by encouraging more off peak power by households and small businesses, therefore shifting the load.
The technology used by smart grids would have beneficial gains to developing countries because it would help them to upgrade the control and management of the grid. The technology can detect and report unusual fluctuations in a very efficient manner, and when linked with more advanced control systems, it could initiate procedures that would defend the grid, therefore preventing widespread power outages by keeping the issue isolated in a sub region instead of an entire region.
Even with all of these benefits in mind, it is still unknown whether countries like India will adopt the use of a smart grid in the future. Perhaps for the sake of their extremely fast developing country and people, it seems after recent incidents, they should definitely be considering it.