Soaring mercury, tottering power supply: Faults erupt; stretched LESA watches as Lko consumers take ire to streets - Hindustan Times
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Soaring mercury, tottering power supply: Faults erupt; stretched LESA watches as Lko consumers take ire to streets

By, Lucknow
May 30, 2024 09:30 PM IST

Frequent and prolonged power cuts in Lucknow spark public outrage as over 100 areas face daily outages amid extreme heat, with transformers failing and protests escalating.

Frequent and prolonged power cuts have plunged numerous Lucknow areas into chaos. As temperatures soar above 44 degrees Celsius, daily power outages lasting from 30 minutes to 10 hours have triggered widespread public outrage.

For representation only (HT File Photo)
For representation only (HT File Photo)

The electricity department reports that over 100 areas are affected daily, with more than 25 transformers failing each day due to the extreme heat.

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Water supply is also hit in areas where prolonged power cuts are reported as more than 80% of Lucknow areas are supplied by tubewells, which run on electricity supplied by Lucknow Electricity Supply Authority (LESA).

Between Wednesday and Thursday, more than 1,000 calls were received by the LESA call centre and an old man started demonstrating in front of the Rajajipuram Substation in blazing heat on Thursday afternoon.

Chairman of Uttar Pradesh Rajya Vidyut Upbhokta Parishad, Avadhesh Kumar Varma said, “Protests have become a common sight, with residents taking to the streets from morning till night.

“The situation is getting out of control. The engineers of LESA don’t take calls, the phones of the substations are kept busy. They sleep in peace at home when people are left without power.”

In the Tikait Rai Ka Talab area, angry citizens stormed the C Block power sub-station of Rajajipuram on Thursday. Despite police assurances that power issues would be resolved within the hour, people refused to leave the road. E-rickshaw drivers joined the protest, citing the impact on their livelihood due to the inability to charge their vehicles.”

SP MLA joins demonstrators

On Wednesday night, Samajwadi Party (SP) MLA from Lucknow West Arman Khan joined demonstrators at the UPTron sub-station, only to find it deserted. Khan visited the office of Superintending Engineer Mukesh Tyagi, but Tyagi was absent for over an hour. Upon arrival, Tyagi summoned Rajajipuram division executive engineer Dilip Kumar Gupta and Uptron executive engineer Kuldeep Srivastava to address the crisis. The officials assured that junior engineers and subdivision officers would be present from 6 pm to 11 pm to handle complaints.

Protests erupted at multiple locations across the city, including Buddheshwaran, Sarosa Bharos, Uttarathiya, Para, Sitapur Road, Bansmandi Square, Rajajipuram, PGI Road, Dubagga crossing, and BKT.

Transformers working at critical levels

The electricity department acknowledges the crisis, with senior engineers admitting that over 60% of the city’s transformers are overloaded and are at risk of damage. The increasing demand, driven by the sweltering heat, is burdening the infrastructure.

Official statistics reveal that about 25 transformers are breaking down each day, and the load on over 7,000 transformers has reached critical levels, further heightening the risk of failures. The city’s power infrastructure is severely strained, with over 150 sub-stations and 32,000 transformers under severe stress; they are not receiving full voltage. Voltage from 33 KV sub-centres has dropped to 30-31 KV, and transformers receiving 11 KV feeders are only getting 9.4-9.6 KV load.

Mukesh Singh Chauhan, candidate of INDIA bloc from Lucknow North assembly seat said, “The MD Madhyanchal Vidyut Nigam, never picks up calls of anyone. How can you expect such an official of knowing about the reality of power supply in the state capital?”

He said, “LESA officials were quick in filing a case against those who vandalised the Rajajipuram Old Power Substation, with police using videos and photos to identify the residents who created ruckus inside the substation. However, they don’t blame their staff who don’t take calls over the phone. In such a situation, demonstrations are bound to happen.”

Prolonged power cuts

Thursday saw faults develop at 56 locations, particularly in areas prone to electricity theft like Balaganj, Nakkhas and Rajajipuram.

Prolonged power cuts on Thursday were reported from Jankipuram, Acharya Narendra Dev Ward, Bara Birwa, Kanausi, Khushi Vihar, F Block Indira Nagar, Nai Basti, Darziana, Purana Barfkhana, Clay Square, Murali Nagar, Rustam Vihar Colony, Sushant Golf City C-2, Maulviganj, Gaus Nagar, Sopan Apartment, Faizullahganj, where residents stormed inside the substation after five hours of power cut.

Prolonged power cuts were also reported from Ahiri Tola in Sarai Mali Khan, Janeshwar enclave, Rohtas Plumeria, Rajajipuram, Vikram Nagar, Surya Nagar, Dauda Khera, etc

Low voltage and technical glitches led residents to block Mohan Road, causing a jam. Demonstrators created a ruckus at the FCI sub-station, attacking employees.

Demonstrations dot Lucknow

Residents demonstrated at Priyadarshini and Gahru substations, blocking Sitapur Road and causing a ruckus until 3 am on Wednesday.

A demonstration was reported in Buddheshwaran till 2 am, also on Wednesday.

Similar anger erupted in Bijnor and Sarvannagar villages, where a low voltage problem at 9 pm on Wednesday escalated into a complete supply stoppage at 11 pm.

Residents stormed the Gahru sub-centre, cutting off the feeder and disrupting power to several villages, including Chandrawal, Natkur, and Kasimkheda. Police were called to disperse the crowd, and power was restored by 2 am.

U.P’s power demand highest in country

The highest peak power demand of U.P. has surpassed that of Maharashtra. As temperatures soared, Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited recorded the highest peak demand in the country at 29,282 MW on May 28. In contrast, Maharashtra’s peak demand reached 27,517 MW on May 23. Even on that day, Uttar Pradesh’s peak demand was 28,010 MW.

The release said that the state operates 4,634 substations to ensure continuous power supply to both urban and rural areas. Only 40 of these substations experienced overloading due to the increased demand, which was quickly managed.

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