The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Power cuts still fans, sun adds to misery

The city and its adjoining areas experienced widespread power cuts for the second consecutive day on Tuesday, with the evening peak-hour shortfall in the CESC-served areas shooting up to about 130 mw.

Sources in the CESC said repairs were being carried out on a unit at Budge Budge, which tripped after a tube leak. “We hope to bring the unit back to stream by tomorrow,” said an official. Power cuts ranging from two to three hours were reported from various parts of the city.

The situation in south Calcutta was compounded by a cable fault on Tuesday morning, which cut off power supply to Lake Gardens, Golf Green and large pockets of Prince Anwar Shah Road. The fault was rectified around 8 pm and supply to these areas restored. Sources said that the CESC drew about 370 mw from the state electricity board grid to meet some of the deficit.

What made matters worse was the cruel summer sun, beating down on the streets and sending the maximum temperature soaring to 37.6 degrees Celsius, three degrees above normal. The maximum humidity recorded was 94 per cent.

CESC sources warned that if the temperature rose beyond 36 or 37 degrees Celsius in the summer months, its equipment in the transformers and the distribution network turns vulnerable. “The cables expand in the heat and snags can break out. In some areas, the transformers become so hot that faults cannot be immediately rectified, as workmen cannot touch the damaged parts,” an official said.

The situation in the districts was worse, as the shortfall shot up to 220 mw in the evening peak hours. Prolonged power cuts were reported from almost all districts. Sources in the state electricity board said that there had been an increase in demand for power over the past two days because of the gruelling heat.

The deficit was attributed mostly to the tripping of a unit at Bakreswar on Tuesday morning, following a technical snag, and the shutdown of a 210-mw generating unit at the Bandel power plant.

SSKM Hospital reported “disruption in services”, including delay in operations, on Tuesday morning due to power cuts. The south Calcutta hospital was worst hit between 10.30 am and 11.30 am when the operation theatre went without power and blood could not be sourced from the bank.

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