April 04, 2020
The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
The Prime Minister’s call to switch off lights for 9 minutes on Sunday night to ‘fight’ COVID-19 poses a real threat to the country’s electrical system -- the national grid. What could happen to the grid with the simultaneous switching off and on of all household lighting load, roughly 15% to 20% of the grid’s power? The grid could turn unstable and collapse. We could then have a cascading blackout, like it happened over most of India in July 2012. Bringing the grid operations back to normal can take at least 2-3 days. Imagine the consequences for our hospitals, the doctors, health workers and patients in our crucial battle against COVID-19. Imagine what would happen to all of us in the dark, locked up in our houses.
The National and State grid authorities have already warned the central and state governments of the danger to the grid. The PM should immediately withdraw this call of a self-imposed blackout of the nation.
If the grid trips, the country will have to face the consequences of no electricity, and no ability to fight the epidemic till power is restored. This is a risk that the county, reeling under the current lockdown and the COVID-19 epidemic, cannot, and must not, take.