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Bengaluru's power infra hit as winds pack a punch

Officials attributed the damage to gusty winds that have been uprooting a large number of trees across the city
Last Updated 20 May 2022, 04:22 IST

Gusty winds, a feature of the pre-monsoon season, are playing havoc with Bengaluru's power infrastructure, with 507 poles and 93 transformer structures being damaged in just 12 days in May.

To put this in perspective, only 332 electricity poles were damaged in the whole of 2021. The number of poles damaged in May 2021 was just 33, data accessed by DH shows.

"This year, in May alone, we have seen more damage to poles as compared to the whole of last year," a senior Bescom official said.

Officials attributed the damage to gusty winds that have been uprooting a large number of trees across the city.

"Poles get damaged only when uprooted trees or branches fall over them," another senior official said. "There are instances of a single tree damaging multiple poles. Though we try to identify weak trees, it is a difficult task to get them removed because of opposition from the public."

Two squalls

According to a senior official from the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Bengaluru saw two squalls (a sudden violent gust of wind or localised storm) between May 1 and 10.

"Gusty winds are common during the pre-monsoon season. But their speed and intensity were higher this year. The squalls reported in May were at 48 kmph and 61 kmph, respectively," the official said.

Many parts of Bengaluru have been experiencing power outages for hours owing to the damage.

"If only a single pole is damaged, we will need two to three hours to restore power. But transformer damage take longer to rectify and we may need up to 12 hours," the Bescom official said.

The damage would have been greater if not for underground cabling, according to Bescom Managing Director P Rajendra Cholan.

"Since underground cabling has been completed in many of the core areas, the damages were limited. Most of the complaints were received from outer areas such as Whitefield, HSR Layout and Kengeri," he explained.

Cholan added that Bescom teams had been deployed since March to identify any weak trees and take up tree pruning.

The power utility agency is yet to assess the financial burden owing to such damages.

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(Published 15 May 2022, 19:24 IST)

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