The energy department has pledged to strengthen and modernise power distribution network to provide uninterrupted supply in over 60 towns and cities of the state within three years.
As part of the centrally sponsored Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (RAPDRP), Rs 1,155.21 crore would be spent on strengthening the distribution network in 64 towns and cities with a population of more than 30,000 according to the 2001 census within three years.
“The measures to be taken include laying of new cables, both aerial bunched and underground cables, setting up of additional power sub-stations, capacity augmentation of power sub-stations, poles and distribution transformers, purchase of cable fault locators, installation of new 33 KV & 11 KV feeders and installation of safety equipment,” a Bihar State Power (Holding) Co. Ltd (BSPHCL) official said.
Of the 4,000 transformers in the urban area s of Patna , only 50 per cent have been equipped with AB switches. An AB (air break) switch disconnects a transformer from the rest of the power supply system.
If a transformer is not equipped with the switch, then power has to be snapped from the sub-station to repair a fuse, leading to darkness in larger areas.
“We have invited tenders for modernising the distribution network in various towns and cities, including the state capital. We would also issue tender for other towns in phases to modernise the distribution network,” a BSPHCL officer said on condition of anonymity.
The purpose to strengthen the distribution network is to gradually reduce the overall transmission and distribution and improve the financial condition of the power utility firm. The estimated cost of Rs 1,155.21 crore mentioned in the detailed project report, which the power ministry has approved, would be distributed among two distribution companies — North Bihar Power Distribution Company and South Bihar Power Distribution Company for execution of the scheme, a source in the energy department said.
The North Bihar Power Distribution Company would get Rs 287.19 crore for execution of work in 29 towns/cities, while the South Bihar Power Distribution Company would be apportioned Rs 868.02 crore for carrying out distribution strengthening work in 35 towns and cities, including Patna, the source added. Twenty-five per cent of the total amount would be given to the distribution companies as loans through the nodal agency Power Finance Corporation while the remaining 75 per cent would be taken by the BSPHCL as loan from various financial institutions.
Patna Electric Supply Undertaking (Pesu) has already started carrying out necessary maintenance of feeders and cables in the city ahead of the summer. The steps taken by Pesu included replacement of faulty and dilapidated transmission and distribution lines under its jurisdiction, replacing the overloaded transformers and installation of additional transformers.