The Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) seems to have no policy to deal with private firms supplying substandard distribution transformers to it, adding to people’s woes everywhere in the state.
The bosses have been found fixing the maximum permissible limit of the transformer failure rate arbitrarily from time to time, allegedly to help favourite and well-connected firms escape an action.
So, the UPPCL management recently gave a clean chit to seven of the 13 transformer firms that were blacklisted more than a year ago on the chief minister’s behest.
The plea that the management took to let these seven firms off the hook to restart business relations with them is that the rate of damaged transformers during the guarantee period was found below 10 %, the tolerable limit fixed by it.
“A chartered accountant was appointed to know the exact percentage of the transformers failed during the guarantee period and it was found that the damage rate of transformers supplied by the seven companies to all the four discoms was below 10 %,” UPPCL managing director AP Mishra says in the order dated July 4.
But what is interesting to note is the fact that the UPPCL has never fixed a uniform transformer damage rate limit to decide on action against the firms supplying transformers of poor quality.
This is quite evident from the records available with the HT.
For example, then UPPCL chairman Avnish Kumar Awasthi decided to blacklist over a dozen firms more than a year ago when chief minister, Akhilesh Yadav publicly and repeatedly attributed power crisis to the poor-quality transformers purchased during the Mayawati government.
“He show-caused or blacklisted over a dozen firms the damage rate of whose transformers was found above 5 %” said sources, adding, “but the present management now conveniently increased that limit to below 10% for the same firms,” said sources.
The records further show that the acceptable limit set by the UPPCL during the BSP government was 7%, which is evident from a letter (No 133 and dated September 16, 2011) by then director distribution, Jawaharlal, to all discoms.
Significantly, the UP Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC), however, has been of the opinion that the transformer failure rate during the guarantee period should not be more than 1% at any cost.
“The rate of transformer failure should be negligible during the guarantee period but preferably not more than 1% in any case,” says the UPERC’s standing committee on equipment quality control and monitoring in its minutes of the meeting held on February 25, this year.
“It is surprising that instead of lowering the tolerable transformer damage rate limit, the UPPCL is increasing it with the time even as the chairman at a recent meeting expressed concern over an abnormally high transformer damage rate of more than 20 % in the state,” said an official.
Sources claimed that the UPPCL this time increased the limit to 10% to favour certain firms, including a well-connected Noida-based supplier that also happens to a major supplier of transformers and meters.
The damage rate of its transformers was found to be 9.09 %, below the 10% limit!
“The same firm had supplied 500 transformers of 25 kva capacity to the Poorvanchal (Varansi discom) in June 20011 but 127 of the 500 transformers burnt as soon as they were installed, the damage rate being more than 25 %.
This had prompted then UPPCL chairman Navneet Sehgal to initiate action against the firm but the action was stalled latter,” sources disclosed.