City residents can expect better power supply and fewer breakdowns this summer as the UT electricity department has taken several steps to upgrade its existing infrastructure.
Though the department dragged its feet for the past couple of years to install transformers despite having procuring them for improving the transmission system, it has now set up around 30 new 11-kilovolt (kV) transformers at different parts of the city and is in the process of setting up around 40 more such transformers.
Besides, a 100 mega volt-ampere (MVA) transformer has been installed at Kishangarh sub-station taking the tally of transformers of similar capacity to three at the sub-station, which account for transmission of nearly 55% power supplied to Chandigarh.
In the past few years, the department has drawn flak for its failure to strengthen the existing transmission system, leading to frequent interpretations in power supply.
In previous years during summer season, overloading of the transformers was noticed to be more than 95%, which is in contravention of the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) guidelines.
As per norms, the load on transformers should not be more than 80% of their capacity. Due to overloading, transformers at different sub-stations had developed technical snags during last summer.
UT superintending engineer MP Singh admitted that the department was facing a lot of issues due to overloading of transformers. He, however, said the new transformers would help in resolving the issue to a large extent and ensuring uninterrupted and better quality power supply.
In addition, the administration has also approved four new projects worth around `90 crore for improving the existing system. The approved projects include 66 kV transmission line with underground cable from Sector 32 to Sector 34 grid sub-station with estimated cost of around `11 crore; another 66 kV transmission line, along with associated 66 kV line bays, to upcoming 66 kV grid sub-station at Raipur Kalan at a cost of `17 crore and upgrading 33 kV grid sub-station in Sector 18 to 66 kV at a cost of `23 crore.
Additional power from J&K
Besides other sources, the electricity department this month started buying additional 30 megawatt (MW) power from Jammu and Kashmir between 6am and 10pm to meet its requirement. The department will buy power from J&K till August. The power will, however, be returned to J&K in November and December between 10pm to 6am.
"The additional power will help us in providing uninterrupted supply and also save us from purchasing power on short-term tenders at higher rates," said UT superintending engineer MP Singh.
The maximum peak load of Chandigarh is about 363 MW. It is projected at a maximum of 439 MW by 2016-17. At present, the power load of Chandigarh is fed from Kishangarh-based 3x100 MVA power transformers, SAS Nagar's 2x80 MVA and 66-kV line from Dhulkote.
There are nearly 2.5 lakh consumers in different categories. Of these, 1.75 lakh fall in the domestic category.