Beginning 5 p.m. on Monday, the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) will sequentially shut down 20 machines generating hydroelectric power along a string of cascading projects in Idukki district to enable its engineers to inspect two tunnels in the system.
The machines being shut down are at Mattupetty, Pallivasal, Chengulam, Panniyar, Neriyamangalam and Lower Periyar. From Mattupetty, the water flows to Pallivasal and from there to Chengulam, Pannyiar, Neriyamangalam and Lower Periyar. The KSEB has a string of hydroelectric projects along this system, together generating 196 MW of power.
For about a fortnight, these machines will lie idle. During this period, the KSEB will generate as much energy as possible from other hydroelectric stations such as Idukki, Sabarigiri, Sholayar, Kuttiyady and so on to retain the generation of electricity at an average of around 20 million units a day. That much generation of hydroelectric power is necessary during the remaining days of the summer for the KSEB to maintain the delicate balance in the energy mix from sources of varying cost it expects to have access to till the onset of monsoon.
“As soon as we complete the inspection of the tunnels, we will step up power generation at these stations and regulate downward the power generation at the other hydroelectric stations,” KSEB Chief Engineer K.K. Karuppankutty told The Hindu on Monday. He said this was a planned shut down, for the specific purpose of periodic inspection of the system beginning from Mattupetty to Lower Periyar. It had been factored into the energy generation plans of the KSEB for the summer months.
“This is part of safety evaluation,” Mr. Karuppankutty said.
In a press release issued separately, the KSEB said it would let out water from Munnar ‘head-works reservoir' from 8 a.m. on Tuesday and that from Kallarkutty dam from 10 p.m. on Wednesday to enable its engineers to inspect the tunnels of Pallivasal and Neriyamangalam hydroelectric projects.
The KSEB urged the people residing on either side of the outlet streams to be careful.