Transformer failures, not tech problems, to blame for power cuts

Bescom lost 16,046 transformers in 8 dists; 213 in Bangalore alone
Last Updated 17 June 2014, 19:41 IST

Contrary to the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company’s (Bescom) claims that technical problems are to be blamed for frequent power cuts in Bangalore, the company’s statistics reveal that the large number of transformer failures is the main culprit. 

Alarmed by the revelation, the Bescom Managing Director, Pankaj Kumar Pandey, has directed the officials concerned to check the transformer failures. Formed in 2002, the Bescom was named the best power supply company in the country between 2004 and 2006. It had the lowest transmission and distribution losses across India and no transformer failures at all. But eight years on, the situation has changed and complaints about power cuts have shot up. 

As per the minutes of a meeting held on April 10, 2014, to review the Bescom’s work progress, a total of 16,046 transformer failures were reported in the eight districts under its jurisdiction in 2013-14, while Bangalore reported 213 transformer failures — the highest in the last five years. 

The Bescom witnessed transformer failures of about seven per cent in 2009-10. Their percentage came down to 6.98 in 2010-11 but crossed seven in 2011-12 and 2012-13, before shooting up to 8.27 in 2013-14. As per the latest figures, the Bescom has a total 1,93,948 transformers. 

In urban areas other than Bangalore, transformer failures are worse. In Tumkur district, including in Madhugiri and Tiptur, over 5,500 transformers were lost this year at 12 per cent. 

Sources in the power sector said that the Bescom accounted for ten per cent of the total transformer losses in the State and ranked second among all electricity companies in preventing the losses. 

Highest in Gulbarga

The highest loss of transformers was recorded by the Gulbarga Electricity Supply Company (Gescom) at 16 per cent, followed by the Hubli Electricity Supply Company (Hescom) at 15 per cent, the Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Company (CESC) at 14 per cent. The Mangalore Electricity Supply Company (Mescom) lost the least number of transformers at nine per cent, topping the table in good maintenance of transformers, snatching the tag from the Bescom. 

An official source said that unlike in the past, transformers have been manufactured and installed in a hurry to meet the deadlines, without undergoing crucial tests, thus making them vulnerable for failure. 

The Bescom MD, as per the minutes of the meeting, has directed the engineers to ensure proper maintenance and instal additional transformers to prevent overloading and ensure two months buffer stock at transformer banks. He also directed them to return the faulty transformers to stores for repair. 

(Published 17 June 2014, 19:41 IST)

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