A Correspondent

Leak detected in valves

Repairs expected to be completed within 10 days

KATTAPPANA: For the first time in its history, the Idukki hydro-electric power plant will be closed for repair works from Saturday night, mainly to correct the leakage of water in the butterfly and spherical valves. It is expected that with the closure of the power plant that supplies nearly 50 per cent of the electricity for the State, there will be a shortage of 780 mW of electricity during the peak hours.

A top official of the KSEB at Cheruthoni told The Hindu on Friday that since the commissioning of the dam in 1976, this is the first major repair work and it is being done entirely by engineers from the State.

The repairs will be done in the underground water controlling system at the powerhouse, he said. A survey of the area has already been undertaken. A shutter weighing 20 tonnes controls the water in the tunnel, which has a length of 2.55 km and a diameter of 7 metres. It is expected that the repairs will be completed within 10 days by engaging 24 working hours through shifts, he said.

The main repair work will be done in the butterfly and spherical valves. It has been found that there were leaks in the valves when they were examined.

It is estimated that the peak load consumption of power in the State is 2,850 mW. Of the 1,041 mW to be provided from the Central pool, 600 mW to 700 mW is being received by the State. With the repair work, the six generators, each having a capacity to produce 130 mW, will be stopped and there will a shortage of 780 mW.

It is hoped that relief from the extreme heat in the State, consequent to the onset of the monsoon, will result in a reduction of power consumption during the peak hours ranging from 250 mW to 350 mW. This will reduce the need for additional power when the Idukki power plant is closed, he said.