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Lightning major cause for power transformers’ failure: James Sngma


SHILLONG: Meghalaya’s Power Minister James Sangma pointed to the failure of the distribution transformers as the main reason that leaves many villages without power supply.

Replying to a question in the House, Sangma  said, “The common cause of failure of Distribution Transformers is Due to lightning despite installation of Lightning Arresters (LA). This is because incidence of thunder showers and lightning strikes during the pre-monsoon season (March to mid-June) and monsoon (mid-June to October) is very high in Meghalaya.”

He added that due to high intensity of lightning, the lightning cannot divert the voltage charge to earth causing the transformer to fail.

Another reason provided by Sangma on the failure of the Distribution Transformers was due to earth faults and short circuits of distribution lines due to weather conditions like strong wind, storm, tree fall etc.

Again, he said that drawing of power beyond the contract demand and illegal tapping of power, causing overloading and unbalanced loading was also another cause of transformer failure.

Transformer oil

Sangma also informed that the transformers were damaged due to pilferage of transformer oil.

Congress MLA from Nongthymmai, Charles Pyngrope stood up and said that it was acceptable that transformers failed due to weather conditions but he failed to understand the perception of pilferage of transformer oil.

“How much oil was stolen?” Pyngrope asked to which James said that he require notice for the question.

Again, Pyngrope asked him on the vulnerable areas of the oil theft, to which James said that he would provide information on the question.

Referring to the pilferage of transformer oil, Independent legislator, SK Sunn said it was a “strange reply” and asked whether the transformer oil got stolen when the power was on or off.

To this query, James replied that no person would steal oil at a time when the transformer was on.

In this connection, Sunn asked whether the linemen or somebody else was to be blamed, to which James said that collaborated efforts of the Village Energy Committee to ensure that such incidents are reduced. 

District wise statistics of failed transformers

Sangma said that there were total 316 transformers that are out of order in the state with South West Garo Hills topping the list with 76 numbers of transformers that were out of order.

The numbers of non-functional transformers are : East Khasi Hills-70, West Khasi Hills -18, South West Khasi Hills-16, Ri-Bhoi-15, East Jaintia Hills and South Garo Hills-9, West Jaintia Hill-23, East Garo Hills-18, West Garo Hills-52 North Garo Hills-10.

The minister informed that the failed transformers were being replaced and repaired at government workshops at Sumer, Dakokgre and Mendipathar.

In reply to a query raised by Umroi MLA, George Lyngdoh on the delay in the repair of transformers as only three workshops are on the job, James said that local repair workshops in Shillong and Gauhati were being engaged.

The  MeECL has been entrusted to procure transformers while to cope up with the shortage. The government has also sanctioned Rs 527 lakh (Rs 5.27 crore) for the procurement of 395 distribution transformers.

Till date, there is 147 distribution transformers while the balance of 248 is yet to be received,” he said adding that they are expected to be received by the end of this month.

Leader of Opposition, Mukul Sangma asked whether access to energy is listed under the Essential Services Act, to which James did not reply stating that he require notice.


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