4 months after blackout, grid operator continues to struggle with staff crunch

Four months after two grid collapses left large swathes of India in the dark, the national grid operator continues to be grossly shortstaffed, with 120-odd vacancies unfilled.

Hiring is simply "not being prioritised", according to a senior Ministry of Power official. The issue is only now being taken up "at the highest level" for necessary action in view of the seriousness of the situation, the official added.

Most analysts concur that a large number of vacant posts at the grid operator, Power System Operation Corporation Ltd (POSOCO), is worrying, considering that the lack of adequate and timely interventions to curb overdrawing by northern region states was cited as one of the key reasons for the consecutive grid failures that took place on July 30 and 31, 2012.

One of the reasons for the vacancies is that POSOCO, which runs one of the largest synchronous interconnections in the world, currently operates as just a subsidiary of the state-owned transmission utility PowerGrid Corporation of India Ltd, instead of being an independent entity.

POSOCO was formed in March 2010 to handle the grid management functions of Power Grid Corporation. It comprises five Regional Load Despatch Centres and a National Load Despatch Centre based in Delhi.

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