Long hours of power shutdown leave people fuming

Nerve-centre of power supply: Whenever maintenance work is taken up on 230 kV EHT line that is fed through the Marappalam substation, the power supply gets disrupted.   | Photo Credit: S_S_KUMAR

Day-long power shutdowns have become the norm in Puducherry, leaving the general public exasperated.

Electricity Department officials attribute the disruption to ongoing power infrastructure upgrade and say that the situation will improve after a month or so.

In the last few weeks, the department had shut supply to the entire town and suburban areas citing maintenance work at Marappalam, Villianur and Venkata Nagar substations.

The supply to the town and suburban areas was shut on July 26 for the entire day for maintenance work. Again on Thursday, power supply was restricted because of maintenance work causing hardship to residents.

According to the department, the disruption on rotational basis was because of the maintenance work on the Puducherry-Villianur 230 kV EHT line and that power supply to all categories of installations fed through the Marappalam and Venkata Nagar sub-stations would be disrupted on a rotation basis.

The areas affected were Town (Beach Road to Nellithope), Ellapillaichavady and Ariyankuppam, Murungampakkam to Muthialpet, Saram, Rainbow Nagar, Venkata Nagar, Krishna Nagar, Balaji Nagar, Sudhantira Pon Vizha Nagar, Thirumudi Sedhuraman Nagar and adjoining places. In the recent days, the department was flooded with complaints related to these frequent power cuts.

People have taken to the social media to criticise the department for frequent outage. Short duration power outages used to occur occasionally in the past. But the new trend was to cut supply for long duration after making a public announcement, said Sivarajan, a resident of Rainbow Nagar.

No response

“Officials do not even bother to attend to our calls. All they say is that they are working on it. The existing infrastructure, including power cables, were laid more than 10 years ago and are unable to handle the increasing load capacity. The governments has to augment the power infrastructure to meet the requirements,” said U. Dhinesh Kumar, a resident of Gnanaprakasam Nagar.

According to Tanusri, a resident of Vaithikuppam, not all people get prior information about power restrictions.

“Our household work gets disrupted as we cannot depend on electrical appliances. The elderly people residing in flats find it difficult to move out as lifts remain non-operational during power cuts,” she said.

The power cuts have taken a toll not just on residents. They have caused a drain on the resources of traders.

“The government has made a huge increase in power tariff. Now, because of power cuts, we have to spend more money. During the day long power cuts, we have to hire a generator by spending at least ₹3,000. Consumers find it difficult to shop,” said Kalaiyarasan, a representative of a shop selling baby care products, on Mission Street.

A senior official with the Electricity Department said the problem of long hour power cuts will be there for a maximum of one month. The shutdown was necessitated to facilitate laying of 110 kV transmission line between Korkadu and Villianur substation, he said.

The work was allotted to Power Grid Corporation in 2007. It got delayed because of opposition from local residents over construction of power towers. Eighty-five per cent of the work was over, he said.

The supply had to be cut because of the passing of 230 kV lines from Neyveli to the substations in Puducherry over the area where the new transmission line was being laid. “Since it is a high voltage current that a 230 kV line carries, we cannot carry out work. So the supply from Neyveli to the substations here has to be stopped. The work is nearing completion and after a month there will not be long hours of power cuts,” said the official.

(Additional reporting by S. Prasad)

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Printable version | Jan 14, 2021 11:02:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/long-hours-of-power-shutdown-leave-people-fuming/article24646815.ece

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