The next time you are walking on the 15th Cross Road in Malleswaram and stumble upon a concrete platform on the footpath, you might be walking above a fully functional electric transformer. Claimed to be the first-of-its-kind in India, Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) have installed a 500 KV underground distribution transformer, which was inaugurated on September 5.
Standing on the 30 mm concrete structure built at ground level, it is difficult to guess that a high technology distribution transformer is busy at work underneath. The transformer is placed 10 feet below the ground. At the ground level, you can see a metal door, which resembles a water sump door. Opening this door reveals a ladder, which gives access to a 480 square feet room that houses the transformer.
This project is the outcome of an initiative to make footpaths safer for pedestrians. Earlier, the transformer had been fixed on the footpath and was posing a threat to pedestrians.
The total cost of the project was ₹1.97 crore with Bescom contributing ₹1.33 crore, which includes installing a 500 KV dry type transformer, 8-way solid RMU, 5-way LT distribution panel, 2 KV UPS, 1 HP submersible water pump, lighting and air ventilation system, and temperature and humidity monitoring system. BBMP contributed ₹64 lakh for the civil work. The project was completed in 365 days, according to an official of Bescom.
Mahantesh Bilagi, Managing Director, Bescom explained that the underground transformer system will help in safeguarding electrical equipment from experiencing severe climatic conditions, including storms and high ambient temperature, thereby improving the reliability and life of the operation.
K. J. George, Minister of Energy, who inaugurated the facility, said that more such projects will be taken up in Bengaluru. “While we have already identified transformers that are posing a hazard, steps are being taken to relocate them. After studying the feasibility report submitted by Bescom, we will look at more locations to install transformers underground,” he said.
While Bescom has already taken up the work of converting overhead high tension (HT) lines to underground cables in a phased manner, future plans include taking its distribution transformers, Ring Main Units (RMU), feeder pillar boxes and other equipment underground. Apart from avoiding electric accidents, this move is also expected to cut down distribution losses and ensure supply of good quality electricity.
BBMP Chief Civic Commissioner Tushar Giri Nath said that when such underground projects are taken up in future, measures will be taken to ensure that the concrete ceiling overhead is aligned with the footpath for the convenience of pedestrians.