Mumbai, Dec 17: Hundreds of citizens in India's financial capital took part in a campaign, aimed at spreading the effects of global warming and the need to conserve energy, by switching off power in several places in the city.
The "Batti Bandh" (Lights Off) campaign was initiated by five young executives and was later joined by resident associations, corporates, NGOs and educational institutions.
The residents living in pockets of South Mumbai, Marine Drive, Worli and Bandra turned off their lights between 7.30 to 8.30 pm on Sunday as part of the campaign, inspired by a similar drive carried out in Sydney in March this year.
There were road shows and poster distribution to attract people to the campaign.
"We got a great response. We never expected a complete blackout. The main intention was to reach out people with the message of global warming and conservation of energy," one of the organisers, Neil Quraishi said.
Though the campaign got mixed response, the experts from power sector appreciated the effort. They thought that it was a good initiative to make people aware of global warming and conservation of energy but suggested meticulous planning to carry out the effort.
"The campaign was symbolic, there is actual need of sustainable initiatives," Chairman of the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission Pramod Dev told.
Lights off, emissions on
- Batti Bandh had no impact on power generation, could’ve caused blackout
Mumbai: While the Batti Bandh campaign drew some response from Mumbaikars on Saturday evening, few were aware the symbolic gesture had almost no impact on the amount of power generated and distributed. On the contrary, it could have caused a blackout in Maharashtra by tripping the power grid.
“The power demand for the entire grid is estimated in advance. So even if one area does not consume power, the same amount of power is still being generated at the plants,” said Rangan Bannerjee, convener, energy systems engineering, IIT Bombay.
In other words, even if the gesture raised awareness about greenhouse gas emissions, it had no effect on the actual emissions from the state’s power plants which ran at their normal capacity.
“If the entire city had switched off power over a period of time on a roster basis, it would have helped in conserving energy. The energy generating plants cannot be switched off abruptly, as the entire grid for the state is inter-connected,” said an energy official, who pointed out that power is different from water, which can be conserved simply by switching off. Power can be conserved only if the overall demand on the grid is decreased consistently day after day so that the plants can reduce output.
In fact, experts say switching off power only in one city in an unplanned manner creates frequency problems in the grid. The power generation companies have a schedule based on demand, and a sudden drop in consumption in the grid can disrupt the frequency.
A state power official said it was fortunate that not everyone heeded the call for Batti Bandh, because then it might caused a shutdown of power plants which would have taken several hours to restart, plunging the entire state in darkness.
Maharashtra State Distribution Company officials say ‘Mumbai unplugged’ could have made some impact on energy conservation if the organisers had involved the distribution companies in advance. “An effective schedule for switching off power could have been drawn up, but we heard of this campaign only from newspapers,” said one official, who did not want to be named.