Taking a serious note of the power transmission towers damaged by severe cyclonic storm Phailin, the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has urged the Odisha government to submit a final report, specifying reasons for the damage.
“Odisha Power Transmission Corporation Ltd (OTPCL) had been requested by CEA to get testing of material of damaged towers done at government laboratories. After the results of these tests are available in CEA, detailed discussion on causes of failure of towers will be held during a meeting of the ‘Standing Committee of Transmission Line Experts’ already constituted by CEA. You are, therefore requested to get this expedited,” Neerja Mathur, CEA chairperson wrote to Odisha’s energy secretary P K Jena.
Earlier, OPTCL’s chief general manager (construction) had submitted preliminary reports on the failure of the power transmission towers.
After scrutiny of these reports, CEA observed that the transmission lines were designed considering the design wind zone V (wind speed of 50 m/sec). However, during the cyclonic storm Phailin, the wind speed was much higher, the CEA noted.
The CEA has sought the report on two 220 KV lines (Theruvali and Mendhasal) and 132 KV lines (Chhatrapur, Aska and Narendrapur) ravaged by the tropical cyclone. Phailin that hit the state’s southern coast near Gopalpur on October 12 last year, caused extensive damage to the power infrastructure with almost the whole of Ganjam district plunging into darkness. While people in the district had to cope up without electricity for weeks, it took over two months to achieve full restoration of the power infrastructure.
Around Rs 300 crore has been spent to repair and rebuild the power infrastructure in Ganjam alone where 80 per cent of 33/11 KV lines were damaged due to the cyclone.
Phailin had battered nearly 1,600 km of 11 KV lines in Ganjam district while 241 km of 33 KV lines were badly damaged. The rebuilding exercise included replacement of 300 distribution sub-stations and 54 extra high tension towers. Besides, 13,000 km of low tension lines had to be repaired.
The state government had planned a disaster resilient power strengthening system in Ganjam, the district worst hit by the Phailin storm. The ambitious project, to be implemented with assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), is estimated to cost Rs 750 crore.
In the state, Phailin damaged 1,796 feeders and affected 41,152 sub-stations. In addition, it affected 37,912.2 km of low tension lines, 4,074 km of extra high tension lines, 408,360 electric poles and 93 extra high tension towers.
The severe damage to electrical infrastructure impacted 3,914,714 consumers in 45,616 towns and villages.