Transformer blasts common in Valley

- SUMAN BASHYAL, Kathmandu

Dec 12, 2015-

Workload has suddenly gone up for Nepal Electricity Authority’s (NEA) technician Arjun Katuwal these days as he has to reach at least two dozen sites a day to repair transformers and wires damaged by the overuse of electricity in the Kathmandu valley.

Electricity use has gone up dramatically since India imposed unofficial embargo on Nepal on September 22, making transformer explosions common in the valley.

Katuwal, who was on Friday found repairing a damaged transformer at Shankhamul along with his friend Raj Kumar Shrestha, said they were repairing the equipment for the third time. “We used to repair 2-4 transformers a day in the past, but the number has now soared to 24-25,” said Katuwal.

He said some four-five groups of technicians from NEA’s New Baneshwor branch repair more than 100 transfers every day in surrounding areas.

More than 500 transformers across the country, including 90 in the valley alone, have been damaged beyond repair in the past month, according to NEA. “This has caused financial losses of Rs150 million” said Ram Chandra Pandey, chief at NEA’s Distribution and Consumer Services Division.

Amid a shortage of cooking gas and other petroleum products, households are increasingly using electric appliances line induction cookers, rice cookers and heaters.

“Complaints about transformer explosion and wires catching fire have jumped 20 times,” said Pandey. “On an average, two-three transformers are damaged beyond repair in the valley every day.” NEA has been installing higher capacity transformers at many sites so they could bear the increased load. It has so far installed more than 200 such equipment. “Installing higher capacity transformers, however, does not mean power availability will rise,” said Pandey.

NEA currently supplies around 600MW electricity, while the peak hour demand stands at 1,500-1,550MW, according to NEA. “Even 3,000MW of power supply cannot meet the current power demand,” said Pandey.

Chances of addition of power supply at bigger scales are slim as works at almost all under-construction hydropower projects have stalled, first due to the April 25 earthquake and now due to shortage of fuel and construction materials.

Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Top Bahadur Rayamajhi said at an event here on Friday that the ministry would initiative measures to end load-shedding in the next two years. “We will take action against those developers failing to complete the project within deadline for no valid reasons,” he added.

Published: 12-12-2015 08:57

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