Power utility blames NHAI road works for regular outages
Power utility MSEDCL has blamed NHAI and other agencies for frequent power cuts affecting approximately 40,000 consumers
Pune: The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) has blamed the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and other agencies for frequent power cuts affecting approximately 40,000 consumers in areas like Ambegaon, Katraj, Santoshnagar, Jambhulwadi, Dattnagar, Gurjarwadi, and Bharatiya Vidyapeeth. However, the latter has denied the claims.
In August 2019, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) had proposed a six-lane flyover from Katraj-Navale bridge stretch to resolve the traffic woes in the area. As the civic body could not take up the work due to fund shortage, NHAI funded the flyover. The cost of the 1,326-metre long and 24.20-metre wide flyover project will be ₹170 crore.
The flyover work has been facing stalls due to shifting of power supply since October 2022. Excavation activities by Maharashtra Natural Gas Limited (MNGL) and other agencies have caused damages to the underground power lines leading to supply disruptions in nearby areas.
Nishikant Raut, public relations officer, MSEDCL Pune circle said, “Around 45-50,000 consumers have been affected by the cutting of underground power lines due to digging operations.” The power utility officials said that 14 incidents of severed underground power lines were reported over the past fortnight. The reconnection costs for these channels amounted to approximately ₹4.50 lakh with additional losses of approximately 12 lakh units, equivalent to around ₹1.20 crore
According to MSEDCL officials, they have filed a criminal complaint at Katraj Police Station in response to these incidents.
NHAI has carried out road widening work without shifting power system leaving six high voltage lines of 22 KiloWatt (KV) roads crossing by MSEDCL buried 15 to 20 feet deep, making repairs challenging and time-consuming in the event of any failure.
Dhananjay Deshpande, executive engineer, National Highway Public Works Department said, “NHAI appointed contractors to shift the electrical cables and for that we need Ring Main Unit (RMU) which is one of the major electrical components to shift lines. We placed an order but there is shortage of RMU in the market. MSEDCL is also facing problems to procure it as there are very few vendors in the market who supply RMU. The supplier has assured us to provide RMU in September. After that, we will complete shifting work.”
Manik Kadam, chief general manager (operations and maintenance), MNGL said, “It is not our fault. NHAI gives passage to lay gas lines. The contractor excavated the road and just laid gas lines. We are not carrying out any excavation work.”