With day temperatures touching 43 degrees Celsius and no sight of any rain, the power scenario in the border districts seems to be getting worse with each passing day.
In such a situation, people blame the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) for electricity lines snapping and transformers shutting down. PSPCL officials also seem helpless, struggling to keep supply lines running in this hot and humid weather where air-conditioners run non-stop in shopping complexes and malls and at homes, not only in the city but also in villages.
“We have to maintain the frequency of 50 cycles (current electrons) per second, and if it dips, we have no option but to go in for power cuts,” said Narinder Kumar Gandhi, chief engineer, border zone, while justifying the power cuts.
Talking to HT here on Friday, Gandhi said that despite the high demand in the border zone, PSPCL was yet to resort to scheduled power cuts. He pointed out that whatever cuts were taking place were unscheduled, which were imposed in an area after assessing the load on a transformer.
“Unscheduled cuts are not permanent and are done away with once the load becomes normal.
Besides, technical faults on transformers do occur for various reasons and once these are rectified, the supply is restored,” he added.
On urban pattern supply (UPS), that is domestic supply, the unscheduled power cut is for two hours a day. There is no fixed time for this but it normally takes place in the noon hours when load on the UPS transmission lines is the maximum due to the running of ACs.
According to the chief engineer, in the border zone there are no unscheduled or scheduled power cuts on industrial feeders. However, Mondays are off days for the industry.
The uninterrupted power supply to tubewell feeders in the border zone is for seven and a half hours. While in some areas, this supply is given during the day, in other areas it is during the night.
Asked about complaints of frequent breakdowns, Gandhi said these did occur at times due to excess load. He gave various reasons for this, including stealing of electricity to operate tubewells through unauthorised connections.
Satnam Singh Ajnala, farmer leader, said, “Though we are promised seven-and-a-half hour uninterrupted power supply for our tubewells, this is often interrupted due to fault on transformers or transmission lines. Then there is no policy to compensate us for these breakdowns. In some villages close to the border, PSPCL continues to give night supply despite knowing that farmers cannot work in their fields at night due to restrictions.”