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JSEB rapped for capital distress

Jharkhand State Electricity Regulatory Commission (JSERC) issued a showcause notice to Jharkhand State Electricity Board on Monday, seeking an explanation on its inability to provide quality power to consumers, particularly those in the state capital.

The immediate provocation of the commission’s angry missive was a report published in The Telegraph on September 8, detailing how around 20,000 households of the state capital were facing 24/7 power cuts as 18 of 900 transformers weren’t working.

“We have taken suo motu cognisance of a news report on the issue of burnt transformers,” commission chairman Mukhtiyar Singh told this correspondent.

“JSEB has been mandated under Indian Electricity Act, 2003, to ensure continuous and quality power. For over a year, the commission has been issuing directives asking JSEB to draw up a plan of action for continuous inspection of transformers, thousands of which were installed throughout its command areas, to ensure uninterrupted power supply,” he added.

The commission has, therefore, asked the JSEB to explain why appropriate action, as per provisions of the act, should not be initiated against it for failing to provide quality power to consumers.

Singh’s statement reflects the commission’s growing unhappiness with the functioning of JSEB that has been at the receiving end of its ire for quite sometime now.

In an order issued on April 24, the commission observed, “The distribution and transmission network of the licensee (JSEB) is worn out and very weak, resulting in frequent tripping. The commission directs the licensee to inform (it) about the steps taken to strengthen the transmission and distribution network.”

Again on July 7, the commission reminded JSEB of its April 24 order and pointed out that JSEB was yet to hand over a comprehensive plan to improve its functioning.

“The licensee must analyse causes of frequent interruption and take remedial measure so that the continuous flow of power is maintained,” the commission said in its order.

Once again on August 4, the commission pulled up JSEB for failing to speed up inspection of faulty transformers.

“It seems circle officers have inspected 623 transformers. It is also reported that 342 additional distribution transformers have been installed and capacity of 101 transformers have been augmented to meet the additional load. There are around 25,000 transformers in the distribution system of the JSEB. If this is the pace of inspection of transformers by the field functionary, to check all the transformers, they will take years,” the commission said in its order.

The commission suggested that JSEB fix targets for inspecting transformers and asked it to rectify within 10-15 days faults detected during inspections.