July 11, 2021 4:32:12 am
Overloaded transmission lines and distribution transformers have wreaked havoc on the operational efficiency and financial health of the fund-starved Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL), a performance audit of the state utility has revealed.
Sample this: The power utility spent nearly Rs 1000 crore on repairs of overloaded transformers even as the load on transmission lines increased by three times the norm between 2015 to 2020.
The performance audit has blamed the PSPCL management for not taking immediate remedial steps to keep the load within prescribed limits thereby resulting in the utility suffering heavy financial losses.
The findings of the audit are significant in light of the widespread protests taking place in Punjab over repeated unscheduled power breakdowns, many of which are taking place due to overload on the system. Punjab has been facing an unprecedented power crisis amid an unrelenting summer and the ongoing paddy transplantation season with government announcing several curbs, including shutdown of heavy industry.
Overloading in an electrical network is one of the major factors for technical losses sustained by the PSPCL. As per instructions issued in June 2016 by the corporation itself, the high tension/extra high tension feeders and main distribution lines were to be loaded upto 80 per cent of maximum current carrying capacity of the conductor.
If the existing lines reached beyond 80 per cent of its maximum current carrying capacity, bifurcation or augmentation of existing lines or construction of new lines was required to be planned immediately for keeping the loading of the system within limits.
The audit observed that the number of times load exceeded the 80-per cent prescribed limit trebled from 43 in 2015-16 to 130 in 2019-20. It was found that the maximum load on the overloaded lines ranged from 154 per cent to 158 per cent during 2015-16 to 2019-20.
“As admitted by the management, the number of time the overload on lines went beyond 100 per cent had shot up by six times – from 10 in 2015-16 to 64 in 2019-20. This indicated that the company did not take immediate remedial measures, as per its own instructions, to keep the loading of the electrical lines within the prescribed limit,” the audit report says.
It was also found that PSPCL failed to maintain an ideal ratio of 1:1 of transformation capacity to the connected load and failed to install adequate number of transformers to bring the ratio to requisite level. High gap in transformation capacity leads to overloading of the electrical system resulting in frequent tripping of power supply and adverse voltage fluctuations coupled with higher quantum of energy losses, the report states.
The percentage of overloaded transformers increased from 1.20 per cent in 2015-16 to 2.74 per cent in 2019-20. The overloading of lower rated transformers like 6.3 KVA, 10 KVA and 16 KVA had increased substantially, Overloading of 6.3 KVA transformers had increased substantially from 1.11 per cent in 2015-16 to 7.06 per cent in 2019-20.
It has been found that PSPCL did not make any plans for de-loading the overloaded transformers to prevent damage to them between 2015-20. Resultantly, the company had to bear expenditure of Rs 937.52 crore on the repair of damaged transformers in excess of the norms in these five years.
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