Mumbai: Cable faults cause outage again, as October heat compounds problems

On October 7, at 10.30 pm, a blackout in central Mumbai was caused by faulty cables; this is the second power outage in the area in a few days

Mumbaikars dread October due to the heat that it brings along in its wake. The poor quality of electric cables compounds the problem, since they are responsible for the frequent power outages faced by consumers.

Often, during road excavation work, power cables get damaged, leading to power cuts. File pic
Often, during road excavation work, power cables get damaged, leading to power cuts. File pic

On the night of October 7, at around 10.30 pm, there was a blackout in areas of Sion, Chunabhatti, Pratiksha Nagar, Guru Teg Bahadur Nagar and other local areas in and around the vicinity. Officials from the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking said that two cables of 11 kW each were found damaged, which caused the power cut.

“Some roadwork was being carried out near a substation which damaged the cables. We will now take action against the contractor and levy a fine on him after calculating the damage,” said a BEST official on condition of anonymity.

Problems with damaged cables have plagued the Undertaking over the past several days. BEST authorities blame private as well as government agencies carrying out roadwork for this situation. Often, during road excavation work, power cables get damaged, leading to power cuts.

mid-day had reported on September 25 on how in the days to come, there could be problems in electricity supply, thanks to the increasing number of cable faults within the island city where BEST supplies. (‘Gear up for power fluctuations as BEST's cable faults shoot up’).

There was a power cut in the same location on September 30 too. “It is really pathetic that so many power cuts are happening despite the fact that people pay extra for ensuring 24-hour electric supply. The regulatory body should intervene,” said Ravi Raja, member, BEST Committee. Power experts said that with the October heat coming in, the use of electricity goes up substantially.

To make matters worse, if the quality of cables is poor then it adds a burden on the entire system too. BEST officials said that cable faults have gone up by almost 68 per cent. While there were 1,891 cable failures between April and June 2014, this has seen a steep rise to 3,171 cable failures in 2015.

The BEST is also procuring 1.5 lakh cable-warning covers for low voltage cables and 38,600 cable-warning covers for high voltage cables at a total cost of Rs 29.93 lakh. These covers are like tiles that are placed at several locations below which cables are laid, indicating their presence for contractors who carry out digging work.

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