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Power heat in peak summer

- Poor supply leads to voltage fluctuation, trips appliances
The members of a family watch television at Kankerbagh on Monday. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey

Patna Electric Supply Undertaking (Pesu) appears to be faltering on its decision to provide 24 hours power supply in this peak summer.

With the mercury hovering over 40°C, residents are facing frequent voltage fluctuations and sometimes low voltage. This has made life miserable for power consumers who have to make do with less supply in the sweltering heat.

Bihar recorded the highest daytime temperature in the past five years by touching 42.1°C on April 26. The maximum temperature on April 27 was 41.9°C, five degrees above normal, while it was 40.5°C on Monday. The reason behind low voltage was attributed to increased load.

Residents of Patna, who were assured “close to 24 hours quality power supply”, were finding it difficult to run electronic appliances such as television, fridge, air-conditioners etc. Since there was insufficient supply, most equipment either broke down or would not work.

“The problem of voltage fluctuation starts every evening. Microwave ovens do not work. Air-conditioners trip often. We are facing the problem for the past week. We have lodged complaints with the distribution company but the employees on duty say that the situation would remain the same because of summer,” said A.K. Mishra, a resident of Ramnagri.

“If power supply stabilises by late night, then there is a problem of low voltage,” Mishra said, adding: “It’s a double-edged sword.”

Pesu general manager-cum-chief engineer SSP Srivastava, however, feigned ignorance about the problem.

“I have not received any such complaint (in large numbers) as you are saying. If there is any specific complaint in an area, our executive engineer would get it rectified,” Srivastava said.

The state’s power demand hovers between 2,500MW and 3,000MW. The state is heavily dependent on central sector allocations and on Monday it got around 1,800MW from the central sector. Out of the total available power, Patna is supplied around 400-450MW against its peak demand of 550-600MW. The state got the maximum power supply of 2,536MW on April 11.

A power company official, however, said: “In summer, we face such situations because of increased load. Pesu witnessed 20 per cent increase in load during the summer. It would get normal after the peak summer.”