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Power pangs in capital

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 25: The power distribution system in the capital city is in a mess. Most of the areas here today witnessed unscheduled power cuts for several hours.

In Nayapalli, there was no power for nearly six hours as the Central Electricity Supply Utility (Cesu) carried repair works there.

Even some Cesu field officials admitted that the power situation was in a mess as no steps had been taken over the years to repair and strengthen the existing system.

“The power system will collapse soon if steps are not taken immediately to repair it,” said a senior Cesu official.

While the Cesu is yet to supply the assured amount of power to its customers, its decision to demand more money towards additional security deposits has invited severe criticism from consumers.

Cesu superintendent engineer S.C. Swain said: “Our people take up the maintenance work during winter. We have to go for power cuts in specific areas because of the maintenance work every winter.”

Another Cesu official said that the power distribution company was planning to invest Rs 60 crore during this fiscal to upgrade the system in the state capital city and enhance the quality of power distribution.

“Nearly 100 circuit kilometre of wires needs to be replaced immediately. As the tenacity of the wires has gradually weakened over the years, it has impacted on their power-carrying capacity. A number of transformers also need to be replaced,” said the official.

The consumers are aggrieved as the Cesu issued a notice to them to pay additional security deposits.

“The power tariff has been hiked over the years. However, the security deposit amount had not been hiked. The security deposits will be revised according to the new law,” said Cesu chairman B.C. Jena.

However, trade union activist Ramesh Satpathy said: “We will not pay more money towards security deposits. We will take the issue to the court.”

Reacting on the issue, energy minister Arun Sahoo said: “We will review the matter keeping the consumers’ interest in mind.”

A Cesu official said people should voluntarily come forward to disclose the power load of their houses to help the distribution company carry out its job more effectively.

At present, Bhubaneswar consumes 124 million units of power per month and the consumption is expected to rise by another 20 per cent in the near future. To meet the demands, Cesu is planning to install 400 new transformers.

“Consumers should be more aware of their rights. The transmission and distribution loss is still high. We are planning to reduce this loss by upgrading the entire system,” said a Cesu official.