“We don’t have shortage of power and no load shedding is happening in Gangtok or other parts of Sikkim,” clarified the Power Secretary, KB Kunwar while talking about frequent power cuts in Gangtok and surrounding areas in the past few days.
According to Mr Kunwar, the power outages have been caused by the huge increase in power consumption which is overloading the power stations.
The frequent power cuts are due to Power Station Tripping, that is automatic shutdown of the power station due to over load, he informed.
“Restoring power after a wide-area outage can be difficult, as power stations need to be brought back on-line. Some of the distribution transformers get overloaded due to extensive use of appliances, resulting in Power line tripping. Due to the stress, the transformer life reduces and premature failure also occurs,” said Mr Kunwar.
An overload occurs when you draw more electricity than any distribution line can safely handle. Power cuts which result from or result in power stations tripping are particularly difficult to recover from quickly, said officials of the department.
As per the department there has been a huge increase in demand and the consumption of electricity in Gangtok and its surroundings.
Normally the total power demand and consumption of Gangtok is around 20-22 megawatt but the total demand and consumption of power has increased to almost 35-36 megawatt. That is an increase of almost 50%, informs the department.
As the power stations and power distribution line have been installed as per the normal demand of the particular area, greater demand and consumption cannot be met by the existing distribution line. However, in case of a surge in demand, power station tripping is a built in safety mechanism that helps to prevent any accident.
Principal Chief Engineer, PT Bhutia explains, “Protective relays and fuses are used to automatically detect overloads and to disconnect circuits at risk of damage. So automatic disconnect causes power cuts and can be restored after the use comes down to normal.”
The department is working hard to upgrade the distribution line, power station and to install more dedicated power sub-station to meet the greater demand of increasing local population as well as tourist inflow, said Secretary, Mr Kunwar.
“We are already working on up-gradation work and by next four to five months there will be no such problems,” he added.
Mr Kunwar further informed about the Central Scheme- IPDS (Integrated Power Development Scheme) which is in the pipeline and can improve power distribution in the State.
“We have a strict directions from the Government and the Chief Minister to provide quality and uninterrupted power supply but cooperation is also needed from each and every individual to maintain the demand and supply ratio which will help to prevent tripping of power station,” he stated.
Mr Kunwar has urged people to use electricity judiciously and not to use all heating or heavy power consumption appliances at the same time but to use them turn wise. He also urged people to cut down unnecessary usage of power at home and turn off lights and switches whenever they are not needed.