Chief Engineer PDD, Aijaz A Dar tells Umar Mukhtar
KASHMIR LIFE (KL): Winters have set in and the power curtailments have also returned. Is this how the winters would be?
AIJAZ AHMAD DAR (AAD): Power curtailment is a system constraint. Till the time we will achieve demand-side management and additional capacity, this curtailment will remain. Maybe in the next two years, this curtailment would be off, after capacity addition and demand-side management is done by way of LT cabling and proper metering. This procedure will give us a boost of 300 MW.
KL: Doctors Association of Kashmir (DAK) has said that power supply to homes is key to saving lives because the Covid-19 patients being treated at home require power for Oxygen supply?
AAD: As far as hospital and Covid-19 centres are concerned, we are already providing them round the clock power supply. Instead of giving this statement, DAK should ask people to use electricity judiciously, so that we will be able to reduce our curtailment. If there is some emergency patient and he needs oxygen and his inverter is drained, at that time he can approach us and maybe if we have the capacity, we can provide them at the cost of another feeder.
KL: Every winter PDD sends checking squads to confiscate gadgets, but that hardly impacts the overall power scenario. How do you look upon it?
AAD: Our inspection squads are as much important as cooperation from the people. If people will reduce the use of extra gadgets, illegal hooking’s, and double service lines themselves, there is no need of checking squads. We have cases where we see in a locality almost 90 per cent resort to such illegal things. So, there is definitely an impact of the checking squads.
KL: Kashmir witnesses minus temperatures and people definitely need gadgets that will keep them warm. How genuine is it to ask people not to use gadgets that keep them warm in chilling winters?
AAD: Let them use it through meters or they have other methods of heating. Department cannot provide them electricity for heating purposes. There are also gadgets which can be used for warming of water and heating of rooms, let them use conventional methods for keeping themselves warm. When there was no electricity people had ways and means for staying warm in intensely cold winters.
KL: Is it genuine to tell people to go for conventional methods for heating purposes in this age?
AAD: The point is not whether it is genuine or not, I am saying that let them use as per the agreement only.
KL: What is the exact power deficit in winter? When can we expect that we will see an uninterrupted power supply during winters?
AAD: Presently we have a gap of 600 MWs. There are transmission projects in the pipeline, new grids are coming up that will boost our capacity and ultimately demand and supply will be reduced. Also, 200 to 300 MWs would be reduced by means of demand-side management and 300 MWs will be system additions and then the equation would come to zero and we would be able to supply round the clock electricity. This all will happen in the coming years.
KL: In winters, your distribution system crumbles under two inches of snow. Why is it so?
AAD: Last year there was an unexpected and heavy snowfall that is why we had a system failure else it has never happened that some inches of snow has put our power supply to halt. But this year we have taken the precautions at earliest. This year we have additional stock of fresh transformers. The department will be very prompt this winter.
KL: Every year lot of people from your own department die because of electrocution and they are mostly poor daily wagers. Why is it happening? What are the measures taken by the department?
AAD: Department has already an SOP regarding to safeguard the lives but now we have revised that SOP. Under new SOP it has been ensured that only a person will do the repairing work when he will receive a ‘permit to work’ order. This SOP will definitely have an influence and there will be no more sad news. The safety of employees is always a priority for the department.
KL: Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) losses are very high, they are said to be an underlying cause for the major load shedding. To minimize the losses the system needs to be overhauled. What has been done so far in this regard?
AAD: AT&C loses has nothing to do with the load shedding. AT&C losses happen in two sections; one is technical loss and other is a commercial loss.
KL: There is a trend that if a transformer gets damaged, then for months together the people have to literally beg for its repairs. Why is it so, has something been done to address this problem?
AAD: This time we have instructed every division to hire additional pickup vans. This trend of not picking the damaged transformers from the spot and repairing it within due time, it will be all changed. You will see a change this winter. Also, we have Rs 10 crore additional budget for this winter and have got money for extra poles and transformers.