Mrunal Manmay Dash

New Delhi/Bhubaneswar: With Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to shun the darkness of COVID19 by lighting candles, diyas, torches or mobile flashlights and turning off all the lights at 9 PM today for 9 minutes, citizens have been urged to follow certain steps while observing the routine.

The Union Energy Ministry, the Odisha Energy department along with the power distribution company CESU have issued advisories directing people about the dos and don’ts while switching off or switching on lights at 9 PM tonight.

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There are apprehensions that the whole exercise could be harmful for the power grids because of the fluctuation it could cause.

A release from the Union Energy ministry read, “Prime Minister Modi had appealed to the people to voluntarily switch off their lights from 9:00 pm to 9:09 pm on the 5th of April. Since then apprehensions have been expressed that this may cause instability in the grid and fluctuation in voltage which may harm the electrical appliances. These apprehensions are misplaced.”

The ministry stated that the Indian electricity grid is robust and stable and adequate arrangements and protocols are in place to handle the fluctuation in demand. However, it laid out some guidelines for the users.

The appeal of the Prime Minister is to simply switch off the lights and not street lights and appliances like Computer, TV, Fan, Refrigerator and AC in the homes. Only lights may be switched off, the ministry advised.

The lights in hospitals and all other essential services like public utilities, municipal service offices, police stations, manufacturing facilities, etc will remain on. The call given by PM Modi is to just switch off lights in residences.

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All local bodies have been advised to keep the street lights on for public safety, as per the advisory.

The Odisha Energy Department has also issued an advisory for the public during 9Baje9Minute.

The department has requested all residential housing societies/ residential apartments to not switch off/on their main supply at feeder/ main level for sudden decrease and increase of load during 9.00pm and 9.09 pm respectively.

“Running appliances (Fan, Refrigerator and AC etc) should not be switched off during this period,” the advisory read.

The department further advised the users to not switch off/on all lights at once. It may be done gradually.

Similarly, CESU (Central Electricity Supply Utility) in Odisha has also allayed apprehensions of people and stated that the grid is fully prepared to handle this variation in demand. All electrical appliances like TV, refrigerator, AC etc. can remain operational during this period and people have been advised not to switch off the mains.