TODAY -

Power cuts remain chronic in Ukhrul
Source: Chronicle News Service / R Lester Makang

Ukhrul, September 11 2022: The prepaid metering system has often been suggested as a solution to frequent power cuts in the state.

So when the system was first introduced in Ukhrul district some years back, many believed that a panacea for the ' public woes due to frequent power failures had finally come.

Not just the public, even the government apparently relied on the measure to bring an end to huge revenue loss due to power theft and non-payment of utility bills by the public.

However, contrary to the belief, the much-avowed system is unlikely to solve all of the power crises unless various other factors contributing to the frequent power failures are addressed in right earnest.

Talking to The People's Chronicle, an official of the MSPDCL Ukhrul Division informed that around 70 percent of registered consumers in the main town areas have been covered under the ongoing programme for installation of the prepaid power metering system.

"We are working to completely cover the entire town habitation by the end of the current year," he said.

Even then, the official added that mitigating power outages is far more complicated than simply installing the prepaid meters.

Maintaining that there are certain shortfalls that need to be addressed on priority basis before tackling the chronic and recurring power outages, he said lack of MSPCL offices in both Ukhrul and Kamjong districts presents a big challenge in tackling frequent power cuts.

In the absence of the MSPCL offices here, restoration of any line faults within its jurisdiction has to depend on the arrival of the staffers of MSPCL all the way from Imphal.

This prolonged the outage period and caused immense inconveniences to the public, he said.

The staffers of the Ukhrul Division are also facing administrative inconveniences covering 58 villages from Ukhrul district headquarters to Tanrui village in the western region spanning 46 km and about 130 km till Jessami subdivision in the north and about 43 km till Sihai Khunou in the east under Ukhrul subdivision.

The coverage area is too big to be administered by the Division alone, he said.

This is on top of the acute shortage of manpower in the Division.

He said that currently there only 11 linesmen, including eight permanent linesmen and three meter reader cum bill distributors engaged as linesmen as well as bill distributors when the actual manpower requirement should be more than 40.According to the official, the Division would be able to operate effectively if at least 40 lines men and five daily wage staffers are provided.

Along with this provision, the Division could be segregated into four sub-divisions namely Tolloi, Nungpi, Namrei and Jessami subdivisions in order to tackle the frequent power failures, he said.

Meanwhile, another reliable source said that majority of power failures in the district are due to technical issues associated with the 33KV Substation, Hundung which is under the care of MSPCL.

The source revealed that Ukhrul district headquarters is solely in need of a 33KV dedicated line to ensure a long-term solution to the chronic power crisis and an uninterrupted power supply.

The existing 33KV line is a combined line connected to Tolloi substation, Namrei substation, and Jessami substation that extends nearly 100 km, it said explaining on the requirement.

"And the worst part is a chain reaction triggered by faults at any of the three substations that results in power failure in the main town," the source added.


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