In the dark
A second tripping of a TVNL unit at Lalpania in Bokaro in less than 24 hours forced many parts of the state to go without power on Thursday.
The crisis in JSEB command areas in Ranchi, Gumla, Lohardaga, Khunti, Simdega, West Singhbhum, Seraikela-Kharsawan, Latehar, Chatra, Garhwa and Palamau districts is likely to continue till Friday, when the unit is expected to be repaired and synchronised back into the state grid.
“Unit No. 1 had to be hastily shut down following leaks in its boiler unit. The unit had been lit up only last evening (Wednesday) after repairs and was generating at normal level. However, around 3.30pm today, it had to be shut down again,” said TVNL general manager Ramavtar Sahu.
He added: “We are waiting for the unit to cool down before starting repairs. We expect to light it up in 24 hours.”
TVNL, with its two units, has an installed capacity of 420MW against which average generation is over 400MW. Following the shut down of unit No. 1, it is contributing around 190MW to the state grid.
Since March 3, generation from TVNL has been reduced by half after the unit was first switched off because of a boiler snag. It was repaired, but developed leaks all over again.
Power officials reasoned that the two units of TVNL were overworked. “Machines need rest too. They cannot work 24x7. We need windows to carry out preventive maintenance too. A proposed third phase expansion of TVNL has been on the cards for 12 years now. Nothing concrete has emerged so far despite promises by successive state governments,” a power official bared some home truths.
Figures released by the eastern load despatch centre indicate that following Thursday’s shutdown, the total generation in Jharkhand had plummeted to 330MW against a peak-time demand of over 950MW. While the working unit of TVNL generated around 190MW, Patratu Thermal Power Station — Jharkhand’s oldest power facility in Ramgarh — contributed another 140MW to the state grid.
Efforts were made to bridge the demand-supply gap by drawing 280MW from the central pool. JSEB spokesman P.K. Srivastava said around 100MW was supplied by DVC and another 160MW was made available by Adhunik Power.
However, a deficit of over 100MW left the power board with no option but to clamp blackouts in phases across its command areas.