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Dam full, but no power generation

Ignatius Pereira
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Alleged failure of KSEB in maintaining turbines at Thenmala

Under repair:The Thenmala hydel power station in Kollam where work to restore two turbines is under way. The turbines are expected to become operational next week.– Photo: C. Suresh Kumar
Under repair:The Thenmala hydel power station in Kollam where work to restore two turbines is under way. The turbines are expected to become operational next week.– Photo: C. Suresh Kumar

In spite of the water level of the Thenmala Dam fast rising to overflow level, the 15-MW hydel power station at the foot of the dam is yet to resume generation. Huge quantity of water which should have been utilised for generating power has been flowing away through the spillway for the past many days.

As water inflow into the catchment area of the dam continues to be heavy, the shutters of the dam could be opened any day and District Collector B. Mohanan had issued a pressnote calling upon people living on the banks of the Kallada river to remain alert since the water level in the river will swell when the shutters are opened.

The power station at Thenmala has two turbines of 7.5 MW each. Both the turbines have developed technical problems as a result of which the Kerala State Electricity Board is unable to run them. Sources said that one of the turbines had been lying idle for months.

As the water level in the Thenmala Dam began falling from March on account of the drought situation, the operation time of the other turbine was rescheduled from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

When the water level still fell, the flow lacked the strength to drive the turbine and that turbine too was shut down from the first week of May. But when the water level began to rise in June after the onset of the monsoon, it was found that the one which had been running too malfunctioned because of some technical snag.

When the water level in the dam stood at an appreciable level, both the turbines used to run round-the-clock. The sources said that the KSEB failed to do the annual maintenance work during the month of May when both the turbines were not operational.

This has led to the present situation.

Asked about the situation, KSEB Member (Distribution and Generation) Muhammed Ali Rawther said that work to restore the turbines was being carried out on a war footing at the Thenmala generation station. In fact a big team of KSEB technical experts was carrying out the job. The work could not be carried out in May since the trial run could not be performed because of the lack of water in the dam.

Mr. Rawther said that given the progress of the work, the 72-hour performance trial could commence any time this week and by the beginning of next week, both the turbines would become operational.

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