Parts of Punjab go powerless even as PSPCL supplies record power for paddy sowing

Power corporation officials attributed the power cuts to the storm which hit the state Thursday as a result of which around 8,000 electricity poles and electricity pylons have been left damaged across the state.

Even as the all-time record demand for 11,647 MW power for the first day of paddy season was met by the state power corporation, many areas of the state were left powerless due to unscheduled power cuts for the second consecutive day.

Power corporation officials attributed the power cuts to the storm which hit the state Thursday as a result of which around 8,000 electricity poles and electricity pylons have been left damaged across the state.

However, the PSEB Engineers Association has blamed Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) for inadequate preparations for the summer/paddy sowing season and held senior management of the corporation responsible for paucity of poles, cables and transformers.

PSPCL officials informed that the maximum demand of power on June 10, the day the paddy transplantation started, was 11,647 MW, while last year it was 9156 MW.

While power corporation officials claim that they supplied eight hour electricity to agriculture feeders, as required for paddy season, there were complaints from various parts of the state that there had been shortage of supply. The complaints emanated from rural as well as urban parts of the state.

Speaking to The Indian Express, the Chairman-cum-Managing Director (CMD) of PSPCL, A Venu Prasad, said that 8,000 electricity polls and pylons had been damaged across the state due to the storm and this affected the power supply to many parts of the state. “However by this afternoon, we had managed to restore power to 95 per cent of the affected areas and the rest would also be done soon,” he said.

Venu Prasad added that those agriculture areas which have complained of not getting power for eight hours may have been those who were affected by storm.

“We supplied record electricity on the first day of the paddy season and there is no cause of concern as we are well placed to supple well beyond this demand,” he said.

Meanwhile, PSEB Engineers Association has charged PSPCL authorities of neglecting to maintain an adequate stock of materials like transformers, cables and poles ahead of the summer/paddy season. The general secretary of the association, Ajay Pal Singh Atwal, rubbished the PSPCL claim that field officers had been authorised to make spot purchases for the material.

“These statements issued by PSPCL are not only incorrect but they are contradictory also. Spot purchases can be made under the PSPCL purchase regulations only in emergent conditions. The process which was to be initiated only in an emergency is now being normalised by the management indicating that there is a serious shortage of material,” said Atwal.

The association also pointed out that panic buying by the corporation can result in substandard material being purchased.

“It is anticipated that below specification material may be dumped on PSPCL by vendors during the spot purchase,” added Atwal.

Reacting to these allegations, CMD Venu Prasad said that there was no shortage of material with PSPCL.

“We have 50,000 poles lying in stock with us. Also, how could we have procured material in the last one year when due to Covid conditions the oxygen of steel manufacturers was diverted for medical use. These are not normal times and hence extraordinary measures are needed to be taken,” he said.

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