Officials say rain water causes transformer failure

Sudden showers, accompanied by lightning and thunder, on Monday night which brought relief in the form of a drop in summer temperature, caused severe hardship to Chennaites in the form of an unannounced power failure.
Officials say rain water causes transformer failure
Representative Image

Chennai

Many areas including Velachery, Gopalapuram, Vyasanagar and Jaffarkhanpet went without power for a duration ranging from 30 to 90 minutes.
But TANGEDCO (TN Energy Generation and Distribution Corporation) sources claimed they received no complaints of power failure due to thunder showers. “There might have been some cases about fuses being blown, and such faults could be rectified only after rain stopped.”
Control room officials said power failure was possible as transformers were designed in such a way that when cold water fell on a heated transformer, it tripped automatically. “It cannot be switched on when the rain continues. Only when it stops and normal voltage is recorded the transformer will be switched on,” sources added. 
In areas like Kundrathur where overhead lines are still in use, power supply would be switched off during heavy rain to prevent people from being electrocuted in case a line snapped and fell to the ground. But for Velachery residents, a prolonged power failure between Sunday noon and Monday morning and again on Tuesday between 8 and 11 am was due to underground cable having been snapped by work on the double-deck bridge at Anna Nagar. 
“Though we have repeatedly told the highways department to inform us when they start digging, this is never done” a TANGEDCO official lamented. Though rules stipulate that officials of the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCE), TANGEDCO, Metrowater and related departments should be informed when roads are dug up for maintenance work within the city limits, this is rarely followed, officials admit. 
In fact, Velachery EB officials were informed orally that the highways department would start work depending on the availability of earth moving equipment (JCB).  Hence they were not able to announce in advance when and where they planned to dig. “If other departments inform us we will be at least able to inform the public in advance,” EB officials say. 
But they seem to be more worried about JCB prongs touching high power underground cables, due to improper supervision, and possible casualties.
Low voltage in suburbs
Most of the suburbs of Chennai city have been witnessing low voltage power supply in the past one month. Residents complained that whenever they contacted Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited (TANGEDCO) officials, the officials kept saying the problem would be rectified soon. 
Residents in areas like Chitlapakkam, Kundrathur, Iyyappanthangal, Perungudi and Thuraipakkam complained that they had sleepless nights on many occasions due to low voltage power supply and demanded the authority must take the problem seriously. 
“Whenever there is power fluctuation, I call up Electricity Board (EB) officials. However, the officials keep saying that the problem will be sorted out soon. But nothing has happened so far,” said Gangadurai, a resident of Kallukuttai, near Perungudi. He said this happened mostly between 5 pm and 2 am, and sometimes in the morning too. “The EB officials are aware of this issue. They should realise that power supply is of paramount importance to every house,” said R Moorthy,  resident of Kundrathur. He also complained that the EB contact centre staff sometime did not respond to the calls whenever he tried.

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