SUKKUR: Sukkur residents, particularly those who get their electricity from the Site grid station and have been facing 15 to 18 hours of load-shedding already, might be in for tougher times due to the overloading of heavy duty transformers at the grid station.
Of the three heavy duty transformers at the Site grid station, one with a capacity of 20/26 megawatts (MW) developed a major fault in August last year. Subsequently, it was sent to Lahore for reclamation in March, 2015, and has not been fixed yet. The remaining two transformers, one with a capacity of 40MW and the other with 10/13MW are catering to the needs of 12 feeders. The latter is frequently overloaded and officials often have to disconnect four feeders at a time to prevent it from overheating.
The residents and businesses whose power supply is routed through these 12 feeders are already braving load-shedding for around 15 to 18 hours every day. The power company had earlier suspended some of its officials after the heavy duty transformer broke down last year. The move became controversial as the officials claimed they had already advised their senior officials regarding the vulnerable condition of the transformer.
“It has become very difficult for us to run an overloaded grid station,” said an official at the Site grid station, speaking on the condition of anonymity. With regards to the faulty transformer, the official said they had repeatedly warned their seniors about the condition of the transformers and it was their duty to resolve the issue.
“Now, another transformer overheats sometimes, due to which we must disconnect the power supply to at least four feeders,” he said, adding that the faulty transformer was sent for reclamation after almost eight months on March 15. According to the official, the senior officials were not giving much attention to the issue, which is why the the transformer had not arrived yet. Meanwhile, residents of the affected areas, irked by the long power outages, have held several demonstrations and sit-ins, but their protests have gone unheeded thus far.
For his part, the sub-divisional officer for old Sukkur, Israr Bajkani, told The Express Tribune that the heavy transformer was the responsibility of the senior officials of the power utility. Bajkani alleged that power theft had become rampant and when their teams raided different areas to remove the illegal connections, the people started protesting.
On the other hand, a senior official in the Sukkur Electric Power Company (Sepco) criticised the poor performance of the officials in the utility, blaming their apathetic attitudes and incompetence for the worsening power crisis. “Another major factor is the politically-motivated postings and transfers of officials who take no interest in their jobs.”
Sepco Sukkur CEO Farmanullah Khan said that load-shedding was being carried out in various areas in accordance with the percentage of line losses. “Areas that register higher line losses will have to face more load-shedding,” he explained, adding that the faulty transformer will be up and running soon.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2015.
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